Exclusive: Call of Duty League Commissioner Talks Taking Inaugural Season Virtual

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Sports are back.

But esports never went away, not even during the worst of the lockdown earlier this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an exclusive interview, Call of Duty League commissioner Johanna Faries sat down with Sports Illustrated to talk about the rollercoaster ride she and the team have been on since the League launched its inaugural season back in late 2019.

In fact, let’s go through a timeline of events that lead up to the current Call of Duty League season. 

Back in October of 2019, Activision Blizzard announced the 12-team Call of Duty League. The League is announced as the first city-based esports League to launch in-home markets with events that are hosted by teams within the League.

Then, on Christmas Eve in December of 2019, the League announced that there would be a restructuring of events which gave fans more matches per event and more hours of content as well as winners at each of its Home Series events.

In January of 2020, the League announced that there was a blockbuster deal between Activision Blizzard and Google which made YouTube the League’s official streaming partner.

The League hosted its launch weekend in Minneapolis, Minnesota in late January.

In March, after launching the season and holding the events in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, the League had to shift fully online. While the rest of the sports world was forced to shutter, the Call of Duty League was able to stream matches on YouTube.

The playoffs for the League are set to kick off on August 19, and they’ll run through August 23.

So, what was it like for Faries to kick off a season and pivot because of COVID-19?

Watch the interview above for more on the Call of Duty League’s inaugural season and how Faries and her team have managed to take it all online and what the wild ride to postseason has been like.