Players eager to showcase CDL as league returns

The Call of Duty League officially restarts with four matches Friday night, and it will have a distinctly different feel than the first four weeks of the inaugural season.

Minnesota Rokkr
Jan 26, Minneapolis – Fans react as the Minnesota Rokkr battle the Toronto Ultra during Launch Weekend at The Armory. (Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports)

The city-based CDL played in front of packed crowds in Minneapolis, London, Atlanta and Los Angeles before the coronavirus pandemic forced a shutdown of live events last month.

An initial plan to transition to online matches until it was safe to resume live events ultimately became a need to move the remainder of the season online to limit the travel of players and kickstart the competition.

The “vacation we never wanted is over,” the Florida Mutineers tweeted on Monday upon the release of the online schedule.

Eight of the league’s 12 teams will be in action this weekend as the CDL faces a critical test. Will fans flock to the matches on YouTube similar to how they did for the live events, and can the CDL ensure a fair and seamless environment with online matches played remotely?

The Toronto Ultra’s Anthony “Methodz” Zinni told Field Level Media that he’s “just excited to get back into the action” with his team and build on the momentum the CDL had during the first month of its inaugural season.

“In a sense, (the CDL) makes everything feel more official,” he said. “The best way to put it is, it feels similar to how you’d fantasize playing for your favorite pro sports team, whether that’s the Yankees or the Raptors.

“Specifically for us players, it added a sense of stability that may have been lacking in the past. Perhaps right now more than any other time, it matters more. We are one of the few professional city-based competitions anywhere in the world that is still able to entertain large audiences, so that is a privilege and an opportunity for us.”

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)