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Call of Duty League Could be a Mess: Will the Esports Bubble Pop?

If the inaugural Call of Duty League franchised season fails to meet the expectations, could its poor results result in the esports bubble popping?

The Call of Duty League launch weekend is behind us, and we already have a couple of surprises to talk about today. The focal point of this piece is the overall state of affairs during the CDL launch weekend.

Arguably, every opening ceremony/launch weekend will have its downsides. The same goes for CDL, of course. However, things were apparently so bad that some people already dub it as the esports bubble popper…

What is the Esports Bubble?

We’ve already talked about this phenomenon in our comprehensive Esports Bubble piece. Feel free to check it out. For now, here’s a short definition of the term bubble.

In investment lingo, a bubble is an economic cycle characterized by massive growth, followed by a rapid contraction. Typically, bubbles are formed by an unwarranted surge in asset prices. Usually, the surge is a direct result of exuberant market behavior.

As far as the esports industry goes, experts are concerned that the numbers are overly inflated, to the point of chasing away potential investors. Even though the esports industry is still in an upward spiral, it relies too heavily on investments.

The inaugural Call of Duty League franchised season definitely has no lack of investors at the moment, but that could happen if it doesn’t meet expectations in terms of exposure and viewership numbers. If that happens, the esports bubble could start deflating, and we could see a chain reaction swallowing a significant portion of the industry.

Why are People Expecting CDL to Fail?

As mentioned earlier, many people expect Call of Duty League to fail in its first franchised season. Why is that so? Well, the answer could be really simple – esports fans are against franchised systems in their favorite esports. They’re against the closed-off nature of such systems which prevent Cinderella stories and up-and-coming teams/players from stealing the show.

Even though both represent real problems, when we balance out the pros and cons, franchised systems are actually good for esports’ long-term stability and sustainability.

Alongside all this, integrity concerns have also started popping up, posing as yet another channel of potential bubble-popping issues with the CDL.

Integrity Concerns

Even though the Call of Duty League featured just one weekend of competitive play thus far, there are already rumors of integrity issues plaguing the scene. After reviewing the official CDL schedule, teams realized that Atlanta FaZe and Chicago Huntsmen would never play in the same group in any of the eight events they’ll participate in. Mind you; these are the most prominent CDL organizations. Strangely enough, all other teams have at least one head to head contest with all other contestants.

For an organization that stressed the importance of competitive equality and integrity in esports, this seems like a really bad move. It’s as if Activision Blizzard wants these two teams always to reach the Sunday playoffs just to get the massive viewership numbers… Well, how about that, huh?

As mentioned above, a ton of people expects the inaugural franchised season of Call of Duty League to fail. Needless to say, these sorts of integrity concerns don’t help the league’s cause. Apparently, Dexerto reached out to CDL for a comment but they’re yet to receive a response.

CDL – First Round Recap

Dallas Empire got a nasty wake up call. The team that was among the CDL favorites ahead of the first weekend failed to win a single match. Chicago Huntsmen were better in the opening match, and Atlanta FaZe confirmed their form in the second encounter.

Viewership-wise, CDL launch weekend enjoyed roughly 50,000 viewers on average. 100,000 viewers (the peak count) watched OpTic square up against Chicago Huntsmen, suggesting which teams have the greatest fanbases right off the bat.

The majority of issues fall down to organizational challenges. Users reported subpar streaming experiences, packed with audio cutoffs, weird in-game camera issues, way too much US Army ads, and massive time delays, all of which greatly affect one’s enjoyment. The training facility debacle is in a league of its own, but that’s a topic for some other time.

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