CDL Opener Sees Huge Decline In Viewership
The trials and tribulations of the Call of Duty League off-season appear to have taken their toll on the esports scene, as the Kickoff Classic has significantly dropped in viewers, compared to the same event in the 2021 season and the 2020 Launch Weekend.
With the twelve elite Call of Duty franchises stepping on to the stage to warm up for the third season of the revamped league system, a distinct kamikaze of a pre-season has seen a wealth of fans have their head turned by Halo esports and other Tier-1 titles, with over a quarter of fans not returning to tune into the broadcast this year - according to Esports Charts.
CDL Kickoff Classic Loses 25% of viewership from last season
After watching Toronto Ultra triumph in the CDL Kickoff Classic - trumping the likes of Florida Mutineers, Los Angeles Thieves, and eventually Seattle Surge - a selection of the Call of Duty esports community seemingly found other things to do than to tune in to the broadcast that was also missing some of their most encapsulating personalities.
According to Esports Charts, the peak viewership for the CDL 2022 Kickoff Classic came in the OpTic Texas versus LA Thieves second-round tie, with 79,753 people tuning into the game. Compared to last season, this is a 25.5% drop, as the same two teams pulled in 107,186 peak fans. The inaugural 2020 season opening fixture between the Immortals-owned OpTic Gaming Los Angeles taking on the Chicago Hunstmen also pulled in 102,891, further proving over 20% of fans have boycotted the third seasons' curtain raiser.
Why was the CDL 2022 viewership so low?
Whilst the figures look damning for the Call of Duty League, a continuation of live events could soon spark life into a lacklustre community, especially if the specific brands begin to create stories and relationships going into the season. The dismantlement of the beloved Envy-owned Dallas Empire franchise may have driven some fans away from the scene, despite the parent organisation hopeful that their merger with OpTic could have seen the Green Wall and Envy rivalry be forgotten.
The newly-found Boston Breach also may have struggled to contribute towards the viewers, having less than two weeks to being ramping up much hype about their arrival. OpTic owner Hector "H3CZ" Rodriguez has repeatedly called on franchises to build their fan-base, applauding the likes of Toronto Ultra who plugged into TikTok to begin tapping up a new audience.
It's also undeniable that OpTic's Green Wall are the most dense fan base, and their early exit from the competition could also be a major reason behind the peak audience not being higher; a similarly damning exit for Atlanta FaZe may have also contributed, as the two colossal sides often pulled in the most eyes during the 2021 season's entirety. Additionally, unlike Season 1, the Kickoff Classic was worth no points in the overall standings, and acted as a $30,000 warm up, which was criticised by Los Angeles Guerrillas star Peirce "Gunless" Hillman.
Call of Duty loyalists shouldn't fear too much though, as a huge purchasing of Activision from Microsoft may see the league begin to have much more TLC and support, and begin to steer the ship back away from the coastline.