In the era of COVID, when traditional sports have been all but canceled, esports have seen a healthy increase in interest and viewership as people tune in to get their competitive fix. Earlier this year, Call of Duty League was forced to cancel all of its in-person events as the COVID-19 pandemic shut the country down, but it pressed forward in March with a newly revised all-digital presentation. Despite this small setback, Call of Duty League saw it’s highest viewership of the season over the weekend with the New York Subliners Home Series.
During the weekend event—in which the New York Subliners swept the Chicago Huntsmen and won their home series event, a COD League first—peak viewership reached 115,000. This number was reached during a match between the Atlanta Faze and the Chicago Huntsmen, and just edges out the previous viewership record of 113K, which was reached back at the Atlanta home series in week three.
“The New York Home Series was an outstanding event. The storylines, the gameplay, the viewership–they all reflect the hard work and resiliency that everyone in the league continue to show in the face of a challenging year,” said Johanna Faries, Commissioner of the Call of Duty League. “Fans are showing such passionate support for their teams and cities; it’s been exciting to see unfold in our inaugural season. We remain focused on delivering in top-quality ways and are looking forward to what should be an exciting postseason.”
Other matches this last weekend set even more viewership records. The New York/Chicago matchup was the biggest home series final of the season at 96K AMA (average minute audience, the average number of viewers watch per minute). All of the Sunday matches landed at a collective average of 86K AMA, which was the best performing bracket of the season so far. Even the non-tournament play being held through the Warzone Weekends pre-game matchups, in which pro players compete in various challenges in the Warzone battle royale, saw an AMA of 50K on Sunday.
With only two more Home Series events to go, we’re quickly approaching the Call of Duty League Championships, which will take place in August. The post-season begins August 19th and runs through August 23rd, whittling the competition down to four teams through a double elimination bracket. Those four teams then go on to play in the 2020 Call of Duty League Championship on August 29th and 30th.
Activision is hinting at some Champs viewer rewards to incentivize fans to tune into the show next month, with details on those in-game rewards coming soon. Fans can support their favorite teams right now in Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Warzone through cosmetic packs, one hyping up Champs weekend, and one representing each of the teams in the league.
This year’s Call of Duty League shifted from previous years in a major way, moving to city-based franchises. The huge change was then stressed by the unexpected pandemic upsetting normal on-location operations and plans, but an exclusive partnership with YouTube has helped the series to see new viewership heights despite forgoing those in-person events. You can catch all of the remaining Call of Duty League events on YouTube.