UPDATE 13/03/22: Esports Insider incorrectly reported the league’s peak viewership figure. The originally reported viewership figure of 439,776 was from MW3 Tournament OldSchool.
Activision’s Call of Duty League (CDL) Stage 3 Major broke viewership records over the weekend, recording 335,170 viewers at its peak, according to Esports Charts.
The event is now the most-watched in Call of Duty League history, with it recording the highest peak viewership of any event since the league swapped to a franchise system in 2020. The league has seen increased viewership since its return to Twitch from YouTube in December last year.
The figure was recorded during the semifinal match between storied organisations OpTic Texas and Atlanta FaZe, likely buoyed by the teams’ large fanbases. The final saw around 1,000 viewers less than peak, with Toronto ULTRA walking out victorious after eventually defeating to hometown favourites OpTic.
The event was hosted at OpTic’s Esports Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on March 9th-12th, with a Challengers Open Tournament for non-franchised teams running parallel to the main finals.
The Major also broke records for overall viewership time, with 5.5m hours watched over a modest airtime of just over 30 hours. The figures include a vast array of co-streams and watch parties, with OpTic Scump registering over 175,000 unique viewers in addition to the main stream’s six-figure viewership.
Now in its third season since it moved to a franchised league format, the CDL’s previous record was held by the 2020 finals, which saw 331,558 fans tune in for the end of its first season. Since then, multiple franchises have changed hands. Notably, this includes OpTic and Envy Gaming’s Call of Duty teams merging into a single squad in 2021.
Spots at the CDL originally cost $25m (~£20.7,) and speculation abounds about an expansion, as other esports franchised leagues have done since its foundation. As of this writing, out of the 12 franchises in the CDL only two are based outside of the United States – London Royal Ravens and Toronto Ultra.