By Barry Janoff
December 4, 2016: Armed with eye-popping stats from Season 1 that include the participation of more than 1,000 teams worldwide, more than 1.2 billion minutes watched of live competitive content and more than 120 million tune-ins, Activision Publishing has unveiled schedules and activation for Season 2 of Call of Duty World League Presented by PlayStation4.
The new eSports season officially starts Dec. 7 and is scheduled to run through the championship in August 2017.
The news was shared this weekend during the PlayStation Experience in Anaheim, Calif. (Dec. 3 - 4), which included a special invitational pitting eight teams from North America and Europe.
Activision described the invitational as a precursor to the first CWL open competition, scheduled for Dec. 16-18 in Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay.
Activision said the participation and worldwide viewing stats were all record numbers for the franchise.
"The 2016 inaugural season of the CWL was incredible," Rob Kostich, evp and GM for Call of Duty, said in a statement. "We saw more than 1,000 teams from around the world compete, and well over one billion minutes of broadcast content featuring some of the greatest Call of Duty competition ever.
"So together with our presenting partner PlayStation4, we’re excited to kick-off a new season of the Call of Duty World League, and what better way to get started than with a special invitational competition right here at PSX this weekend," said Kostich.
Marketing support will include TV, Internet, social media, POP and on-site activations.
A Call of Duty Infinite Warfare spot featuring Olympic swimming icon Michael Phelps, "Screw It, Let’s Go To Space," has garnered almost 10 million views on YouTube since being posted in late October.
Season 2 of CWL, the return of the Call of Duty World League Championship in 2017 and a new Pro Latin America North League of Legends league are all in partnership with Major League Gaming.
According to Phil Rosenberg, svp-publisher and developer relations for Playstation parent company Sony Interactive Entertainment America, "PlayStation4 is proud to partner with the Call of Duty World League. The spirit of competition and the excitement shared by fans throughout the season is nothing short of amazing . . . We can’t wait to get things started for our fans here at PSX."
The success of the Call of Duty World League is part of the arching success being experienced across the eSports landscape.
According to a recent study from eSports research and consulting firm NewZoo, San Francisco, among U.S. men ages 21 to 35, eSports "is as popular as baseball & ice hockey," with 22% watching eSports frequently.
In addition, cccassional viewers in the U.S. will reach 144 million this year, with 148 million enthusiasts. Those numbers will grow to 212 million casual viewers and 215 million enthusiasts in 2019, according to NewZoo’s Why Sports And Brands Want To Be In eSports.
Translating that into dollars and cents, revenue is expected to reach $493 million this year and top $1.1 billion in 2019, per NewZoo.
A separate study from NewZoo, supported by a report from Juniper Research, indicted that eSports audiences worldwide could reach NFL levels by 2017.
Report: eSports Nearing NFL, NBA, MLB Marketing, Money Levels
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