Zer0 explains why he's been benched by Subliners ahead of CDL Los Angeles - Dexerto
Call of Duty

Zer0 explains why he’s been benched by Subliners ahead of CDL Los Angeles

Published: 28/Feb/2020 21:04 Updated: 28/Feb/2020 21:59

by Albert Petrosyan


The New York Subliners Call of Duty League franchise have made a roster change ahead of CDL Los Angeles, benching veteran player Trei ‘Zer0’ Morris.

With CDL Los Angeles set to take place March 7-8, the eight participating teams are gearing up to make a run in the fourth event of the season and collect some valuable CDL points.

One of those teams, Subliners, will be featuring a new-look roster in LA, as Zer0 himself revealed on February 28 that he’d been benched by the squad.

“I know for a fact that I won’t be playing in LA, I just have to see what I can do to play again,” he said. “My team wasn’t doing great, I don’t feel like I was the issue but someone has to go and that someone’s obviously going to be me.”

As for what lays in store for him after the Los Angeles tournament, Zer0 is hoping for another opportunity to start again in the Call of Duty League.

“Hopefully after LA I can do something. Sucks not to play but f**k it. They do what’s best for them and if they think getting rid of is it then I don’t really care.”

As for who will replace Zer0 in the starting lineup, Subliners have not yet made an official announcement. However, fans were quick to notice that substitute Nick ‘Happy’ Suda was scrimming with the team in place of the Englishman on Friday.

New York currently have two subs on their roster, Happy and Doug ‘Censor’ Martin, but by the look of things, it’s going to the former who gets the first crack at a starting spot.

If Happy does get the nod, it’ll more than likely be on an interim basis for the upcoming event, after which the team will properly assess whether they’re content with him starting or if they need to make further changes.

CDL IntelHappy was seen scrimming with Subliners in place of Zer0.


  • Thomas ‘ZooMaa’ Paparatto
  • Dillon ‘Attach’ Price
  • Donovan ‘Temp’ Laroda
  • Lamar ‘Accuracy’ Abedi
  • Nick ‘Happy’ Suda

This news shouldn’t come as a major shock to those who have been keeping up with the CDL. Subliners have not had the best of starts to the season, looking thoroughly overwhelmed in their defeats to London Royal Ravens and Atlanta FaZe at Launch Weekend.

Despite getting their first win, things didn’t improve much at CDL London, where they went 1-2 and failed to get out of Group B. After missing CDL Atlanta, they’ll be back in action in Los Angeles, but their work will be cut out for them as they’ve been put in Group B with Dallas Empire, Atlanta FaZe and Florida Mutineers, all of whom already have a Grand Finals appearance under their belts.

Heading into the LA event, New York are tied with Guerrillas, Surge and Ultra for eighth in the 2020 season standings with 10 points each.

We’ve reach out to Subliners for comment, but they have yet to officially confirm the roster change.


Activision in talks to reduce fees owed by CDL & Overwatch League teams

Published: 2/Dec/2020 22:14 Updated: 2/Dec/2020 22:35

by Theo Salaun


Recent reports from The Esports Observer indicate that Activision Blizzard are in the midst of discussions to possibly reduce the amount the amount owed by Overwatch League and Call of Duty League franchises as part of their entry fees.

With all OWL and CDL plans derailed over the past year, Activision are reportedly trying to rework the hefty investments that organizations have made into their franchising opportunities. When the massive game development company pitched both leagues, neither was expected to be profitable in the short-term, but projections have taken an even greater hit due to current global restrictions.

A groundbreaking esports concept centered around the city-based model that is used in traditional sports, Activision required $20 million entry fees for the OWL’s first 12 teams and then fees in the range between $30 to $60 million for its next eight. For the CDL’s inaugural season, 12 teams needed to put up at least $25 million apiece, even more for cities that were in high-demand.

Now that the plans for local events have understandably shifted, neither league is expanding for their next season and ownership groups in both are looking for ways to save cash. As reported by The Esports Observer’s Adam Stern, this has engendered cost-cutting discussions with Activision’s latest new senior executive hire, Tony Petitti.

overwatch league 2020 event crowd
Ben Pursell For Blizzard Entertainment
One of the many avid crowds at Overwatch League events.

Petitti, formerly Major League Baseball’s deputy commissioner, was hired by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick to a senior role involved with both of their leagues as the President of Sports and Entertainment. He joins Johanna Faries, a former National Football League executive, who brings a traditional sports perspective as the commissioner for both the CDL and OWL.

Given their experience with city-based sports leagues, Activision is likely aware of the profitability challenges that their current esport and sport investment groups are facing. As such, it should be no surprise that they are willing to have conversations about concessions that can make current projections fit closer to the original expectations.

As Stern reports, those discussions have included discounting some of the original entry fees: “one idea that is being weighed is reducing the amount of money they owe to the video game maker.” 

Call of Duty League LAN
Call of Duty League
Following in the OWL’s footsteps, the CDL also had huge enthusiasm for live events.

With Immortals Gaming Club selling their Los Angeles Call of Duty franchise to 100 Thieves and reportedly being interested in selling their OWL spot as well, many are wondering if franchise valuations have shifted.

Fortunately, it appears that the profitability projections have remained somewhat consistent despite current predicaments. As reported by Forbes’ Christina Settimi, 100 Thieves COO John Robinson would not set an exact figure on their LA Thieves purchase, but suggested that “franchise values have held up.”

Activision would likely want to avoid an exodus of owners, so these discussions to cut costs and protect brand health are reportedly ongoing.