The Call of Duty League (CDL) is facing a precarious future. This article delves into the challenges and potential paths forward for the CDL, amidst the broader context of esports.
The Esports Boom and Its Consequences
Esports experienced rapid growth, leading to high-profile coverage and substantial investments. CDL’s formation was part of this trend. However, the industry’s expansion also brought challenges, with financial returns not meeting expectations.
Impact of the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated these challenges, severely impacting in-person events and the league’s momentum.
Activision Blizzard’s Acquisition and Layoffs
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard in late 2023 led to significant layoffs in early 2024. This included a reduction in the esports team, affecting the CDL and other esports initiatives.
The CDL’s Observer Team Layoffs
The CDL suffered particularly, losing its entire observer team, raising questions about the league’s future direction.
Overwatch League’s Closure and Lessons for CDL
The shutdown of the Overwatch League and the introduction of the Overwatch Champions Series (OWCS) might offer insights into the future trajectory of the CDL. OWCS’s community-focused model could be a blueprint for CoD esports.
MLG: A Missed Opportunity?
Activision’s purchase of Major League Gaming (MLG) for $46 million in 2016 aimed to establish MLG as the “ESPN of esports”. However, this vision remains unfulfilled, with MLG currently dormant.
Last tweet of the night, but just saying.
If Microsoft/AB let me run MLG from within, gave me the ability to run CWL next to Halo (and their amazing esports team) and other internal IP, we would build the most powerful internal marketing engine in the industry.
Bring back folks…
— Adam Apicella (@MrAdamAp) January 31, 2024
Advocacy for MLG’s Resurrection
Adam Apicella, a key figure in MLG’s history, has publicly expressed interest in reviving MLG, potentially offering a path for the future of CoD esports.
Conclusion: A Return to Roots?
The CDL, amidst these challenges, might find its salvation in a return to its roots, reminiscent of the CoD World League and MLG days. This approach could reinvigorate the community and ensure the continuity of CoD esports.