Recently, the future of the esport league formats has been an increasingly popular subject. Activision Blizzard esports recently announced the format for the Call of Duty league for next year. The league will feature a home/away format, fostering the creation of city based teams, much like the Overwatch league. Is the Overwatch league the catalyze for change with regards to the format of esports leagues? Call of Duty’s esports league may be the first of many to follow in the Overwatch league’s footsteps.
A city based esports landscape can offer a much different experience for esports players and viewers than any other format. For example, the fanbase for each esports team will be easier to grow and spread. If you live in New York City, and you here about a New York City esports team competing in Call of Duty, you will obviously be more inclined to support that team over any other esports team, similar to the way many major league sports work. If the league was filled with teams not based in any particular city, many people will have no desire to support, or even watch any team compete. The city based esports format gives teams an easier way to gather a fanbase.
Another advantage of a city based league format is the way the scheduling works. Scheduling any esports event will be much easier now that each team will have a home arena in which they can host tournaments or one on one events. Scheduling can be as easy as picking which team will be hosting the event and matching each team up with another team.
Based on Activision Blizzard’s move to a home/away format for their Call of Duty esports league next year, it seems like many large esports titles are beginning to move towards that model. As esports continues to grow, the leagues will likely continue to shift towards city based teams, maybe allowing esports culture to become similar to the city based sports culture we are already so familiar with.