As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to create challenges in the sports and entertainment space, Activision Blizzard will make some changes to its Call of Duty League’s (CDL) Championship Weekend. Changes include the number of teams invited to the tournament, viewer incentives, and the Warzone Weekend event.
12 teams. One private lobby. The bag ????.
— Call of Duty League (@CODLeague) May 19, 2020
Instead of eight teams being invited to the Championship Weekend, the league has decided that all 12 teams will compete at the event. Additionally, the first two seeds in the tournament will get byes for two rounds.
Call of Duty League Commissioner Johanna Faries talked to The Esports Observer about the changes.
“We love that every fan of all of our teams has a reason to watch the event, even more so than before,” said Faries. “Everyone has a shot. But at the same time, let’s make sure that we preserve, um, how meaningful our home series events and the regular season needs to become. So I think we preserved why everybody needs to give it their all through the remainder of the regular season but still have the upside of being represented in the championship bracket.”
With the Championship Weekend bringing in more teams and potentially more fans, the league will launch a new viewer incentive program starting the last half of the season. Fans will be able to unlock in-game rewards by watching live CDL competitions via the Call of Duty League website. More details on the program are coming soon, including more information on rewards can be earned, according to Activision Blizzard.
The league’s new Warzone Weekend, slated to stream Sunday, May 24, during the Seattle Surge homestand, will see the top CDL teams competing in a battle royale style game. All twelve CDL teams will be competing in one lobby, which means that event will be played in a specially created space as the game does not have a private lobby function. A total of 48 players will be playing this one-of-a-kind winner-takes-all Warzone competition with $10K USD as the prize.
The action will be pre-recorded and will air on YouTube. Activision Blizzard signed a deal with YouTube earlier this year to exclusively broadcast Call of Duty League and Overwatch League esports content on the platform.
Faries explained why the event would not be streamed live.
“We wanted to make sure that our pros had time to really focus on this and be as intense and had as much fun with it as possible. What we didn’t want is having them have to toggle their attention between a live war zone map leading up to CDL Sunday,” she said. “Being able to use our off weeks and their off days to get the biggest names in our ecosystem, in this lobby, competing for those stakes and making better content for our fans is absolutely a better product experience.”
Details of the league’s Championship Weekend will be announced at a later date.
Editor’s note: A sentence on how rewards will be earned was updated to reflect that Activision Blizzard will provide more details at a later date.
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