Each year the world of esports gets its share of news about the franchise leagues. Activision Blizzardcan be seen as the leading company in this field, first creating the Overwatch franchises and then doing the same to the Call of Duty. Today we will tell you how the change of format has affected the discipline's main competition.
Despite a large number of similarities, the COD League is not quite the same as OWL. Namely, Call of Duty got a different format – instead of constantly hosting games at home and away, the organizers have opted to simply hold a smaller competition per each city represented in the championship's first season. The London stop will be the first such event to occur after the launch event.
Call of Duty League was known for generating interesting news even before its launch. YouTube has received exclusive rights to broadcast COD, Overwatch and Hearthstone esports events in early 2020. This has forced the Americans to spectate their favorite game on a new platform, despite the Twitch being more popular in the USA (and therefore more convenient for the American audience).
All the twelve teams of the league took part in the championship launch event. However, despite all the hype surrounding the league, the results are not too satisfying. The tournament has reached the mark of 102 peak viewers, which exceeds the first stage of the 2018 CWL Pro League by only 2%. Such an indicator is not one of the discipline's very best as it is only the ninth-best result among all the esports disciplines.
When comparing the launch of Call of Duty League with its main counterpart, Overwatch League, the launch of the latter was so much better. Namely, the debut of OWL in 2018 has gathered 437 thousand peak viewers, which is 324% more compared to the Call of Duty League.
The average viewers indicator shows more confidence, reaching the mark of 49 thousand average viewers at the Call of Duty League 2020 Launch Weekend. This is 249% more than was observed during the 2018 CWL Pro League 1st stage. The current situation has shown an improvement, and while there's still a big difference compared to the Overwatch League, now it at least reaches 182%.
The debut season of Overwatch League was broadcasted on Twitch, while the broadcasts of COD League are available only on YouTube. As it was already mentioned, Twitch is prioritized by the American audience which also happens to be the target audience of Call of Duty – so it is likely that the figures would be higher in case the league would be streamed on Twitch.
There were other issues as well. As the league started, not everyone could locate the broadcast using the platform's search function. The majority of viewers went live using a direct link.
The first season's organizers have only launched an English-language broadcast; that's while the start of Blizzard's other product, Overwatch League, had 2 extra streams at once: Korean and French. While the American players represent the core of CoD, the discipline is not limited to the English-speaking viewers alone. It shouldn't be forgotten that the shooter is also popular in Central and South America, where the majority of people speaks Spanish and Portuguese.FF
There's a huge imbalance between the esports scenes of the games, which is not helping in the least. Yes, Call of Duty's great history stretches for over a decade, with some of the currently popular organizations being traced back to small COD clans. But for all this time, the shooter's popularity was pretty much limited to the American viewers – whereas the rest of the world's market is dominated by games such as CS:GO.
The publisher's rather uncommon approach is to blame for this state of affairs. With a new installment of Call of Duty being released every year, the esports scene is forced to switch to it – which doesn't offer much stability. To put it simply, each new season the discipline undergoes through drastic changes.
The debut of the new franchise league is quite difficult to compare to the modern types of competitions of its rivals – which have their major leagues divided into regional championships, with the truly international battles being only possible during the playoffs. As such, an objective comparison becomes downright impossible.
But let's go back to the statistics and see which teams of this debut became the most popular. Judging by the average viewers, the representative of Chicago (which is managed by NRG) has arrived first, with the team's first matches gathering a total of 75 thousand average viewers.
OpTic Gaming Los Angeles has arrived second with its indicator of 64 thousand average viewers. Closing the top 3 was Dallas Empire, owned by the guys from Team EnVyUs. Its matches have attracted 61 thousand average viewers.
So far, the new page in Call of Duty's history has turned out to be interesting. Despite having its share of problems, it represents an esports evolutionary leap that still requires further assessment.