The CDL Needs To Expand In 2022 – Here’s Why
The Call of Duty League (CDL) is nearing the end of its second season, and it’s fair to say that in the first two years of its existence, Activision Blizzard has had to overcome numerous hurdles that have stood in its way. After a handful of events in the league’s inaugural season, the CDL moved to an online format thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was refined and polished into a well-oiled machine for the duration of the Black Ops Cold War season. The second season of the geo-located league saw a significant change in team structure, moving back to four-versus-four competition from five-versus-five, leading to a huge exodus in talent from the highest tier of competition and into Challengers.
With many world-class players battling it out in high-stakes competitions in a bid to prove their worth once again, there is plenty of potential for the CDL to expand in order to accommodate for more talented names to compete at the very top once again. The off-season is fast approaching and with the annual dose of rostermania on the horizon, the CDL needs to expand from 12 franchises to 16 in 2022, and here’s why.
More Players At The Top Level
As mentioned above, the addition of four brand-new franchises would enable at least 16 players to compete in the CDL. It’s clear that the talent is there, after watching a thrilling season of Challengers competition come to its conclusion, with a number of familiar names facing off for huge cash prizes. Challengers is full of recognisable names that many competitive Call of Duty fans will have seen competing on the main stage in previous years, including 2013 world champion Christopher “Parasite” Duarte and former London Royal Ravens submachine slayer Jordan “Jurd” Crowley. With more of the world’s best players in the CDL, the level of competition is only going to increase, which is great from the perspective of the fans that want to see the best of the best face off on a regular basis.
The vast majority of players currently competing in the CDL are from North America, with a small minority coming from Europe and showing that they can indeed compete against the best talent from across the pond. With another four franchises entering the league, the possibility of another all-European roster is extremely high, considering the immense number of talented individuals from the UK and continental Europe that have regularly featured in the finals of Challengers tournaments. The level of Challengers competition has been so strong, there have been claims that they could handily defeat some of the CDL rosters that feature towards the bottom of the league table. If the skill is there, then why not give them the opportunity on Call of Duty’s biggest stage to showcase their talents?
An expansion wouldn’t just benefit the European scene. Throughout Black Ops Cold War, the APAC Challengers competitions have gone to show why there needs to be an Australian CDL franchise entering the league in the not-too-distant future. It wasn’t that long ago when the likes of Tainted Minds and Mindfreak were doing battle against OpTic Gaming and FaZe Clan and sometimes emerging as the victors. The highest level of competition should showcase the best talent the world has to offer, and an Australian franchise arriving in 2022 is a sure-fire way of doing so.
Potential Locations And Investors
There are a number of locations that would be excellent for a CDL franchise to call home but with a $25 million buy-in and a pandemic raging on, some potential investors may think twice about investing in the CDL but when there’s a deep pool of talent waiting for their time to shine on the big stage, 2022 could be the ideal time for new additions to arrive. Spain has always had a hugely passionate community and has often proven itself on the world stage. Team Heretics came close to acquiring a franchise slot, but ultimately fell through, leaving a huge fanbase in the dark and unable to support a local team. If the CDL does expand, the Madrid Heretics could well be a welcome addition alongside the likes of the Sydney Renegades or the Melbourne Chiefs.
Activision Blizzard has regularly stated that there is plenty of interest from investors when it comes to the CDL. Combine this with the huge talent pool waiting in Challengers and a number of locations complete with a passionate base of fans that will support their team, making the investment sooner rather than later looks like the smart decision to make.
More Teams, A New Format
Over the course of the Black Ops Cold War season, both fans and players often expressed their opinions surrounding the format of the season. The addition of five Major tournaments was an excellent decision, enabling all 12 teams to battle it out on a regular basis. While the Majors proved to be a success, the modifications made to the season-ending CDL Championship were met with plenty of criticism. Rather than every single team having the opportunity to be crowned champion, the top eight teams from the regular season would be the only ones vying for championship glory and considering the recent performances of the Seattle Surge at the Stage 5 Major, it’s a great shame that they won’t be doing battle for the trophy and the millions of dollars up for grabs.
With the potential of 16 teams competing in the regular-season competition, it would be a logical decision to re-evaluate the current post-season format. It wouldn’t be too much trouble for the CDL to adopt a regular-season championship where the team that finishes first receives some kind of cash prize and all 16 teams qualifying for Champs, would it? Split the teams into four groups of four, with the top two from each going on to compete in a double-elimination bracket, certainly sounds like a recipe for success, especially when it’s proven to be popular in the previous Call of Duty seasons.
Even though there would be significant changes that would need to be made for 16 teams to compete in the CDL, the positives of four all-new franchises making their debut in 2022 greatly outweigh the negatives. Whether we will see expansion during the off-season remains to be seen, but it would be a great shame not to see more teams competing at the very top of the Call of Duty mountain.