Sources: Call of Duty League signing new YouTube exclusivity deal starting next season

Call of Duty League and YouTube Gaming logo side by sideCall of Duty League/YouTube

According to Dexerto sources, the Call of Duty League is signing a new deal for matches to be streamed exclusively on YouTube, starting from the 2023/24 season.

Throughout the Modern Warfare II season, Call of Duty League matches have been streamed across both Twitch and YouTube. Initially, matches were on Twitch only before the League decided to broadcast on both platforms in an attempt to maximize viewership.

This came following a three-year exclusivity period with YouTube, after which the League failed to finalize a deal with either platform.

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Since then, the CDL has achieved record viewership figures, hitting over 330k peak viewers during Major 3, helped by co-streams from top COD personalities, such as Thomas ‘ZooMaa’ Paparatto and Seth ‘Scump’ Abner.

Now, despite mass backlash to our previous report that a YouTube deal was on the cards, from fans, players, and franchise execs alike, we have been told that the deal is as good as done.

According to our sources, the Call of Duty League will broadcast exclusively on YouTube for two years, starting from the Modern Warfare III season in 2023/24.

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atlanta faze lifting trophy at CDL Champs 2021Call of Duty League
The Call of Duty League has been streamed across both YouTube and Twitch this season.

Why a YouTube exclusive deal?

This is especially pertinent after Activision agreed to “eliminate any outstanding entry fees” for the Overwatch League team Toronto Defiant (who also own the Toronto Ultra CDL team).

This is reportedly extending to the rest of the Overwatch League teams, though that has not been announced at the time of writing. It was also reported that, after this all goes through, CDL teams could ask for a similar kind of deal, being relieved of their outstanding entry fees as well.

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The teams have not been paying their agreed entry fees since the start of the global health crisis in 2020, so it’s unlikely teams will have paid anywhere near as much as the original Overwatch League teams have, but the outstanding fees could be reduced significantly or waived altogether.

With Activision Blizzard waiving well over $100 million in entry fees, the YouTube deal becomes a necessity for the company so as to recoup that lost revenue.

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What about CDL watch parties?

methodz and scump on stream with call of duty league logoCall of Duty League/Twitch: Methodz
Scump and Methodz’ watch parties have been very popular.

One big question that this brings up is what happens to the aforementioned watch parties. Scump’s co-streams alone amass more viewers than the official Call of Duty Twitch channel during matches and the The Flank watch parties hosted by ZooMaa are also highly popular. Questions remain about how these top personalities, who draw thousands of viewers to the product, will be affected if they’re not able to effectively co-stream matches.

Exact details of the exclusivity deal are not yet known, though reports at the time of the original deal cited a $160m valuation over three years for YouTube to stream both OWL and CDL.

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Things could still change between now and the start of next season, especially with a meeting between Activision and CDL franchise owners over Championship Weekend in Vegas, but multiple sources have already confirmed with us that YouTube exclusivity is happening.

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