Reflecting on the highs and lows of the very first Call of Duty League event, veterans of the competitive CoD scene and those directly involved with the broadcast sat down to discuss how things will only improve moving forward.
Minnesota hosted the first event of Activision’s brand new Call of Duty League and while there were a few kinks throughout, the broadcast undeniably improved day by day.
Taking a moment to discuss how the production came together, on-air talent Clint ‘Maven’ Evans, Joseph ‘Merk’ DeLuca, and Atlanta FaZe head coach James Crowder, all joined host Tyler ‘TeePee’ Polchow to detail behind the scenes issues of the opening event and explain how the league will only continue to improve.
Kicking off on January 24, day one of the launch event featured a marquee match between the Chicago Huntsmen and the Dallas Empire, as well as hometown heroes Minnesota RØKKR claiming a controversial 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Guerrillas. Behind the scenes however, the production was somewhat messy.
“It was probably obvious to people watching that Friday was frantic,” TeePee said. The event was hit with a number of complaints throughout the broadcast, from observing issues to scheduling gripes, and he revealed how even to those “working the event, it just felt long.”
Maven explained how one particular camera shot was getting him riled up more than anything else—an overhead angle that focused on the stage and the first few rows of seats inside The Armory. Many fans were concerned these shots made the venue look empty.
“My biggest issue…the camera shot made it look way emptier than it was at times because the front section to my understanding, was VIP,” Maven outlined. “A lot of the shots, it would look empty because VIPs were out in the VIP lounge, getting drinks, doing all sorts of stuff, and it was just driving me insane.”
Doubling up on audience-related issues, TeePee added “the crowd [microphones] need to be tweaked a little bit.” Throughout matches, it seemed the crowd was barely making a sound, yet that was not the case according to those involved in the broadcast.
“It was definitely louder in the venue than I feel like was portrayed on the streams sometimes,” TeePee said.
With the second event taking the top CoD talent over to London, a crowd known for its enthusiasm and memorable chants, guaranteeing the audience is properly coming through on the broadcast is sure to be a big focus for the production crew.
Shifting gears from the broadcast itself and openly discussing issues pertaining to the overall production of the event, both Maven and TeePee explained how scheduling will need to see drastic improvements moving forward.
“The single biggest thing from a production standpoint, [Merk] and I had a laugh about this, we had our first meeting in LA about a month before and they told us they had an hour and fifteen set aside for matches,” Maven said. “[We thought], that’s insane, there’s no way you’re going to be on schedule.”
That estimation came from the average series length over the past two years according to Merk. Maven added, however, those average times were from a production team that had been refining its broadcasts for a decade. “This was an entirely new team. I expected there to be issues.”
“It was a new observing team working together for the first time, a new production team working together for the first time,” he added. “They did some simulations and rehearsals but nothing compares to the live show. It just seemed like people needed to get on the same page.”
Despite the issues that hindered Minnesota’s launch event, the crew all appear incredibly optimistic for the future of the CDL as a whole, indicating that the production will only get sharper with each passing event.
“The good thing is all the CDL production staff, directors, producers, all that, is the same,” Maven added. “All of the key people are going to all of these events so that makes me feel it will get better and better.”