2020 saw the first season of the franchised Call of Duty League break a number of viewership records for Call of Duty esports, with its climax – the CDL Championship Weekend – raking in a peak audience of over 300,000.
With those kind of numbers, big things were expected for 2021, especially with the iconic brand of OpTic Gaming back in the hands of its founder, Hector ‘HECZ’ Rodriguez, and 100 Thieves entering the scene with its LA Thieves franchise. Well the expectation appears to have already been met, with the opening weekend of the 2021 season already producing some impressive viewership numbers.
In the highlight game between two of CoD esports’ biggest brands, OpTic Chicago and Atlanta FaZe, viewership maxed out at 131,000 people – this is roughly 30,000 viewers higher than the 2020 opening weekend achieved. This means that Stage 1 of the 2021 season is already the second most-watched CDL event, behind only last year’s Championship.
It wasn’t just the OpTic vs FaZe match that pulled in the viewers though, as the entire weekend of fixtures saw an average minute audience of 80,000, according to stats provided by the league.
Despite a lengthy offseason that has spanned around five months, interest in the CDL has managed to not only stay consistent, but climb. The addition of LA Thieves and the OpTic storyline has of course helped peak people’s interest, but its definitely a positive sign.
— Call of Duty League (@CODLeague) February 16, 2021
Another reason for the growth also sits with the CDL’s platform of choice, YouTube Gaming, which has finally introduced account linking in order to receive in-game rewards for watching CDL matches.
While there will be unfortunate disruption to week two’s schedule due to the severe weather and power outages in areas of the US, this hopefully won’t result in a loss of momentum after such an encouraging start to the new season, viewership-wise.