The Call of Duty League would become a much better product with more teams – but it needs more viewers before that conversation could even begin.
Expanding the CDL could fix the current tournament format
For the sake of competition, the Call of Duty League desperately needs expansion teams. Fans were ecstatic when the Call of Duty World League turned into the CDL. A franchise league means dedicated streams, merchandise and additional content: a a more streamlined experience for the fans. Yet, this hasn’t always been the result over the last two years.
Having only twelve organizations in the league is severely hurting the CDL. It is difficult to format an exciting competition with just a dozen teams. Most esports tournaments feature a number of franchises who duke it out and run through a massive bracket on their way to become champions. The CDL has no such luxury. Unfortunately, the current format offers a fraction of the excitement fans are used to seeing in other esports.
When it comes to the CDL, the bracket of a major tournament is unlike any esport. Due to the minuscule number of teams, fewer games are played throughout the weekends. Furthermore, top franchises who find themselves in the winners’ bracket play very few games even if they become champions. Call of Duty esports of the past required that even top performers run through a gauntlet to prove they are the best. Ultimately, a league with fewer teams limits the possibilities when it comes to bracket format.
CDL viewer count: crickets
Beyond hurting the quality of the competition, the low number of teams in the CDL hurting the quality of competition but also has a direct impact on the league’s viewership. It’s no shock that the CDL’s audience has plummeted over the last year. This is without a doubt a result of online competition, with a severe lack of excitement from the fans. New franchises could help draw in potential fans from across the globe. There are a ton of new markets to explore, including some overseas options.
Unfortunately, the relationship between viewership and expansion teams is not a favorable one. When franchises cost a reported $25 million, how are investors supposed to view a CDL team as a profitable business venture when matches are failing to draw in a substantial amount of viewers? The fact that the CDL’s broadcasting rights belong to YouTube as opposed to Twitch is also detrimental to the future of the league. A move back to Twitch is a must to have a hope of profitability.Just about everyone from players to fans, to organization owners are hoping for this switch.
Top streamers on Twitch are prohibited from re-streaming CDL events. This limits the league’s potential concurrent viewers number. What with the massive Warzone community on Twitch, think of all the potential new CDL viewers who are missing out on the action.
Aydan “Aydan” Conrad is a fantastic example of what a move back to Twitch could do for the CDL. Aydan is signed to the New York Subliners as a Warzone streamer with an average viewer count of 11 000. Given the opportunity, there’s no doubt that Aydan would re-stream a CDL event, or at the very least, an NYSL match. This would increase the concurrent viewership of the CDL. What’s more, Aydan isn’t the only successful Call of Duty streamer with an interest in the league.
A move back to Twitch would directly influence the possibility of expansion teams. Both of these changes would be fantastic for the league.
Roster spot competition
The competition for roster spots has been fierce this year for multiple reasons, including the move back to four players per team from five. The arrival of expansion teams would allow more top players and amateur players to find a home in the league. The talent in the Call of Duty community outside of the CDL at the moment is truly astonishing. There’s also the hope that more franchises would help balance the rosters effectively.
With more teams in the CDL, it is less likely that a superteam such as the Atlanta Faze would come into existence. If the talent is spread out across a larger number of rosters, it’ll be harder for any one franchise to dominate the league. Balancing competition also results in larger retention of viewers. When all is said and done, expansion teams would have a positive impact on the league. However, before this could happen, the CDL must solve its viewership issue.