Call of duty

Gary Vaynerchuk explains why Call of Duty League is the next big thing

by Brad Norton

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In the midst of an intense opening weekend for the launch of the Call of Duty League, Minnesota RØKKR co-owner Gary Vaynerchuk spoke with Dexerto on why he believes it will be one of the best investments he’ll ever make.

Following in the footsteps of the Overwatch League, Activision successfully launched the Call of Duty League on January 24 with a homestand event in Minnesota.

With 12 franchise teams gathering to compete from January 24-26, the best CoD players around the globe finally took to a stage again for the first time since the CWL Championship in August, 2019.

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His first significant venture into the esports industry, Vaynerchuk announced his investment into the Call of Duty League in July, 2019, and was one of the first seven franchises to be revealed. 

Just six months later, the popular speaker was standing inside The Armory in Minnesota as his organization hosted the very first event.

Describing the sensation of finally seeing everything come together, he expressed that “it feels amazing. It feels like seven or eight years of curiosity coming to a culmination. It’s a space I’ve been watching for a long time with curiosity.”

Minnesota home player standing in front of the crowd.
Twitter: ROKKR
The Minnesota homestand kickoff was the first of 13 regular season CDL events throughout 2020.

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The Launch Weekend was widely considered to be a success by both the players and fans, many of whom complimented the ROKKR for being great hosts. Yet speaking with Dexerto, Gary Vee explained why he would still be just as confident in his investment if not a single person had turned up for the kickoff event.

Focusing on the long-term success of the newly established league, Vaynerchuk was quick to argue that the significance of the opening weekend is “not as important as people think. That might be a curveball answer,” he acknowledged. 

“If something is great, it doesn’t have to have its opening thing be great. I want to remind people that Superbowl I did not sell out."

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“I’m very excited about how it’s going, it’s going extremely well, but I’ll be very blunt about this, if there was nobody here and it was clunky, the tech didn’t work, none of you were here,” he said while motioning towards the microphone, “I’d still be as confident as I am about this long-term.”

He went on to speak on the success of the Overwatch League as a catalyst that drove him further towards such a significant investment, highlighting his confidence in the new endeavor, firmly believing that the CDL could be the next major sporting league. 

“As somebody who grew up thinking about owning a sports team in professional football, he asserted that “much like the Major Soccer League (MLS) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), this is kind of next up.”

Gary Vee Instagram posing
Instagram: garyvee
Vaynerchuk is also an investor in a number of social media platforms from Facebook to Twitter.

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“I think esports is going to be like soccer and globally there will be 39-55 titles that have leagues like this. It is my hope that Call of Duty is the [equivalent of the] English Premier League. But even if it’s the Spanish League of the German League, this was a very smart investment.”

When asked if he views the CDL as the next NBA, he quickly responded in saying that “the whole net, the esports category...I do.” 

“I believe that my minority investment in the ROKKR will eventually have a value that could be a significant reason - if the Jets ever become available - as to why I buy the New York Jets,” he explained.

“This will go down as one of the best investments I’ve ever made.”

Vaynerchuk’s franchise claimed back to back wins throughout the opening weekend, taking a controversial 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Guerrillas on day one before closing out the event with a closely contested 3-1 map count over the Toronto Ultra.

Hot off the heels of a groundbreaking announcement that both the Call of Duty League and the Overwatch League would be streaming exclusively on YouTube, it appears as though Gary Vee could not be more confident in the long-run for his newly-minted franchise.