History of the Call of Duty League: from the early championships to the current state of the scene.
Let's run through the history of Call of Duty esports by examining the prize money, the best teams, and significant milestones for the scene.
Call of Duty League is the main esports series based on the popular Call of Duty shooter. But if in Europe the discipline is not popular, then in North America there is a huge fan base of fans who honor traditions with awe.
Today's Call of Duty League is a closed ecosystem with twelve seats reserved for franchise members. However, recently the organizers have begun to allow teams from the Challengers series to compete in order to discover new talents.
In this article, we will talk about the history of the emergence of esports in Call of Duty, as well as assess its current state after the establishment of the Call of Duty League as the main franchise ecosystem.
How it all began - the first prerequisites for Call of Duty esports
When the first Call of Duty game was released in 2003, the more competitive fanbase came together to create Major League Gaming, which was the first company to create a competitive CoD ecosystem. Players eventually purchased the Gamebattles website, which in turn became the largest competitive CoD platform and the birthplace of the biggest esports teams.
When Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was released in 2007, the new professional community began organizing the first LAN tournaments, which became the Major League Championship in 2009.
As the years have gone by and new games have been released, the competitive scene has grown and the MLG tournaments have more prize money at stake for winners and runners-up. It was during this period that most of the most famous organizations in the world were born, such as Team Envy, FaZe Clan or OpTic Gaming. Legendary dynasties like Fariko Impact and compLexity Gaming and legendary players like Karma and Crimsix also arose during this period.
Call of Duty World League is the first example of a complete ecosystem
Activision acquired the MLG series in 2016, taking the competitive scene a huge step forward. The previous LAN tournament format has been moved to a planned pro league: the Call of Duty World League. It also allowed to separate established professionals from emerging talents in order to make it easier for the latter to enter the pro scene.
The format remained the same: LAN tournaments were held throughout the year, and a professional league was added to them, which increased the number of matches per season. This was what really pushed the competitive Call of Duty scene forward as it gave it a proper esports look with a professionally structured league and established teams (even with affiliates in other disciplines). It was in later years that the third dynasty, OpTic Gaming, was born.
The birth of the Call of Duty League
The competitive ecosystem in Call of Duty has changed the format again in 2020, following the lead of the LCS or OWL to move into a franchised league. This meant not only a shuffling of teams, but also the birth of new teams, since most of the franchise places were acquired by companies that did not previously have a team. For example, Hector Rodriguez, the former owner of OpTic Gaming, joined NRG Esports to form the Chicago Huntsmen. However, some teams remained the same and simply renamed, such as OpTic Gaming Los Angeles (part of the Immortals Gaming Club).
First season of Call of Duty League
The first season of the Call of Duty League ran from January to August 2020. The total prize pool for the season was $6,000,000, split between 13 stages/weeks plus a playoff final.
Based on the results of each stage, rating points were awarded to the teams in order to determine the TOP 8 playoff participants at the end of the season.
Call of Duty League winners and runners-up - 2020
- 1st place: Dallas Empire — $1,500,000
- 2nd place: Atlanta FaZe - $900,000
- 3rd place: Chicago Huntsmen - $600,000
- 4th place: London Royal Ravens - $450,000
- 5th-6th place: Toronto Ultra and OpTic Gaming Los Angeles - $300,000
- 7th-8th place: New York Subliners and Florida Mutineers - $175,000
- 9th-10th place: Paris Legion and Minnesota RØKKR - $100,000
- 11th-12th place: Seattle Surge and Los Angeles Guerrillas
Second season of Call of Duty League
The following year, the organizers approved the ecosystem that is familiar today, which included five regular seasons, each of which ended with a major in the LAN format.
At the end of the season, the CDL Championship 2021 took place, replacing the previous playoff format. The TOP-8 best teams of the season played here again, which scored points during the year (from January to July). This time the total prize pool of the season was $5,000,000.
Call of Duty League winners and runners-up - 2021
- 1st place: Atlanta FaZe - $1,200,000
- 2nd place: Toronto Ultra - $650,000
- 3rd place: Dallas Empire - $300,000
- 4th place: Minnesota RØKKR - $150,000
- 5th-6th place: New York Subliners and OpTic Chicago - $75,000
- 7th-8th place: Los Angeles Thieves and Florida Mutineers - $25,000
- 9th-10th place: London Royal Ravens and Seattle Surge
- 11th-12th place: Paris Legion and Los Angeles Guerrillas
Third season of Call of Duty League
The last season of the Call of Duty League 2022 was unchanged from the previous year. True, now the organizers have abandoned the regular seasons in order to retrain them into qualifying competitions. In addition, last season there were only four majors, and the competitive year of the Call of Duty League Championship 2022 ended.
As before, as part of the Call of Duty League - 2022, a total prize pool of $5,000,000 was raffled off. In total, the season took the usual seven months - from January to August.
Call of Duty League winners and runners-up - 2022
- 1st place: Los Angeles Thieves - $1,200,000
- 2nd Place: Atlanta FaZe - $650,000
- 3rd place: Seattle Surge - $320,000
- 4th place: OpTic Texas — $160,000
- 5th-6th place: New York Subliners and Toronto Ultra - $80,000
- 7th-8th place: London Royal Ravens and Boston Breach - $30,000
- 9th-10th place: Florida Mutineers and Los Angeles Guerrillas
- 11th-12th place: Paris Legion and Minnesota RØKKR
Real Call of Duty League
The new season of the Call of Duty League has just started. Unlike previous years, the season now starts in December. The organizers plan to hold five majors, the last of which will be held at the end of May.
At the very end of the season, the Call of Duty League Championship 2023 will be played again, the details of which will appear closer to the championship itself.
If you highlight the main thing, the total prize pool of the season remained the same - $5,000,000. Also on stage are twelve partner teams:
Las Vegas Legion
Los Angeles Guerrillas
London Royal Ravens
Los Angeles Thieves
New York Subliners
It remains only to see what the organizers will prepare for us next season. In the meantime, the 2023 season has just begun, it is worth watching the battles of the best teams on the planet.