While the ongoing global situation has forced all Call of Duty League competition online since April, Chicago Huntsmen CEO Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez believes that we could still see the end of season Champs event played at a LAN event.
Call of Duty’s Championship event marks the end of the competitive cycle for each new release. It’s the most prestigious tournament in the scene, and we’re closely approaching the 2020 spectacle.
Details have been scarce in the lead-up, save for a leaked cosmetic bundle in Modern Warfare. This is because details are still not set in stone, according to industry icon H3CZ. With the regular CDL season coming to a close on July 26, Activision is allegedly still planning the major end of year event.
Given the current crisis and a wide array of major sporting leagues still on hold, the format of Champs in 2020 remains up in the air. It could be contested online, to much dismay from the pro players involved. But the Huntsmen CEO argues that “there are ways in which we can still have a LAN event.”
In the second episode of the NRG Duo Podcast with Rodriguez and NRG Esports Founder Andy Miller, the two discussed how an in-person event may come to fruition. After months of dealing with suboptimal CDL servers, a LAN event could help truly determine which team stands atop the rest. Therefore, all 12 CDL team owners are currently going back and forth on the matter.
“I think it’s important that we do have as much of an integrity-driven competition than anything else,” H3CZ said. “When there’s doubt in connectivity, I think we should eliminate all those ‘ifs’ and go for it.”
Following in the footsteps of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), H3CZ explained how Activision should “take a note from [ UFC President] Dana White.” After a brief period without events, White pushed forward despite the ongoing crisis. Fighters competed in empty arenas without spectators, just essential cornermen and production staff. A similar model could be utilized for a Champs LAN event.
“No fans allowed,” H3CZ continued. “We’ll have the players and we’ll have some staff. Quarantine [players] now. Quarantine everybody in one location. Have them only deal with themselves, have them get daily testing, isolate those who need isolation, and get the work done.”
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With $2 million up for grabs for the first-place team, there’s more at stake in the CDL playoffs than there has been all year. That will be a big motivating factor, according to H3CZ. “They get paid to do this thing. There will be zero resistance on any level from anybody that’s involved in competition.”
For the time being, however, nothing is yet locked in. Talks are still ongoing between Activision and the 12 CDL team owners. Though H3CZ assured that a decision will be made “very soon.”