NRG and Chicago Huntsmen co-CEO Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez has explained why he thinks Call of Duty League franchises should pick up players from outside of Call of Duty to fill out their squads in the upcoming season.
H3CZ is heading up the Chicago Huntsmen franchise alongside his co-workers at NRG Esports, with the Call of Duty League starting in January 2020 and 11 other teams joining Chicago in the league.
One feature the league has implemented this season, unlike in others, is a soft salary cap with a luxury tax for going over it. This means teams can only salary their players up to a certain amount (believed to be in the region of $1.5m across the entire team per year) and will be taxed for going over it.
When asked about the salary cap in an episode of EGL’s Spitfire podcast, H3CZ explained that thanks to his following he has a structure in place that allows him to attract the best players.
He added, though, that new teams to the league might want to take a different approach to sourcing players and utilizing the salary cap.
“If I’m coming into the league and all the popular personalities are taken, I’m going into Halo, Rainbow Six, all these other communities, and trying to convince people to come play for my team.”
(Timestamp 20:25 for mobile users)
H3CZ then goes on to say that he understands people will hate the idea because you’ve got to take care of your own, but adds that “from a business standpoint, I’m going to create a storyline for myself.”
He cites players like Crimsix and Formal moving over from Halo to Call of Duty, and the unparalleled success they’ve seen since, adding that if he was new to the space he would be going and picking up the TOX Halo players to join the team, multiple-time world champions that previously represented OpTic under H3CZ's watch.
The idea of using players from other games for narrative purposes is a unique viewpoint that not many would have considered, but makes sense after H3CZ’s explanation. Without the threat of relegation, teams are able to take risks and have eyes on them by default – something Hector is all too familiar with.
H3CZ is a master of storylines in esports, building brands off the back of the content they create and the stories they can tell. He has a level of experience running Call of Duty teams that very few can replicate
It could also be a solid move for players in other esports: a guaranteed minimum salary of $50,000 and a stable place of work is a luxury you can't take for granted.