Former Call of Duty professional and current 100 Thieves CEO, Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag has detailed why he refused to join the Call of Duty League and why he believes franchising is a “mistake.”
One of the most recognizable names in the storied history of competitive CoD, Nadeshot initially made a name for himself competing under the OpTic Gaming banners before parting ways and forming his own organization 100 Thieves.
After a phenomenal 2019 season that saw the 100 Thieves Call of Duty roster claim back to back championships at CWL London and CWL Anaheim, Nadeshot decided to exit the Call of Duty scene entirely amidst a controversial transition to a franchise-based league. The 100 Thieves CEO has now shared his line of reasoning for leaving the scene behind.
Throughout a November 20 live-stream with 100 Thieves content creators The Mob, Nadeshot expanded on the departure and listed many factors that he believes will negatively impact the start of the franchise league in 2020.
“What are your thoughts on franchising instead of how it used to be? Mako questioned to kickstart the heated discussion.
“I think franchising was a mistake,” Nadeshot responded without hesitation. “Charging teams $25 million to be a part of a league that hasn’t really grown year over year is a mistake.”
Echoing a similar sentiment to that of numerous professional players, he continued his argument in stating that “making teams fly across the world to play one best of five series is a mistake.”
With the full schedule for the inaugural Call of Duty League split having recently been revealed, many active players were quick to voice their displeasure.
Nadeshot’s former OpTic Gaming teammate Matthew ‘FormaL’ Piper was one such player that took aim at the format, saying that it was a joke to host “international events for one series to be played for some of the teams.”
Lol international events for one series to be played for some of the teams, hahahahhaahahhaahahahah
— Matthew Piper (@FormaL) November 15, 2019
“I love the Call of Duty community and I love the fact that all of these pros are getting paid a lot of money,” Nadeshot continued. “I love the fact that Activision is at least trying to create a substantial investment in esports, but the problem is, they’re not even on the same page with Infinity Ward.”
Addressing the state of Modern Warfare just weeks out from release, he indicated that the game was evidently not designed with competitive play in mind, hindering the potential for the league in its first year.
“The [developers] actually went on record and said that they made this game so that a casual player would have a great experience and that the best players will have a bad experience, they actually said that word for word.”
Wrapping up his argument, Nadeshot asserted that Activision’s lofty goals for Call of Duty League viewership are simply unattainable.
“The fact of the matter is if OpTic is not playing in the finals, there’s like 40,000 people watching the tournament and they have this thesis that if they create this league, they’re going to have 500,000 or a million people watching Call of Duty tournaments which is f*cking insane.”
With Activision’s 2019 Overwatch League Grand Finals boasting a 16% viewership increase over the 2018 broadcast, trends have certainly been pivoting upwards for franchise-based esports. However, goals of reaching such a widespread audience throughout the first season clearly has Nadeshot doubting their judgement.
With a number of issues having plagued Modern Warfare since launch, it’s no surprise that a former professional would be trepidatious about major expansion with matches being contested on such a shaky title.
However with the first matches not scheduled to kick off until January 24 in Minnesota, ample time remains for Infinity Ward to polish the release.