Call of Duty League returns to YouTube in non-exclusive deal. Here’s why that’s great for the CDL

Everyone's saying it's a "W" for the CDL.

The Los Angeles Thieves and OpTic Texas on mainstage during a Call of Duty League event
Photo via Call of Duty League

The Call of Duty League is making its return to YouTube Gaming, but that does not mean CDL fans will only be able to watch the league on the Google-owned platform. Instead, the CDL announced today it will broadcast matches simultaneously on YouTube and Twitch starting with the second week of the Major Four qualifiers on Friday, April 7.

The news marks the first time since the CDL launched in 2020 that it will be broadcast on more than one streaming platform. The league had been exclusive to YouTube for its first three seasons before announcing ahead of the 2023 season opener that it would be moving to Twitch.

The partnership between the CDL and Twitch seemed to be coming to an end in February, however, when Dexerto reported the league had agreed to a new three-year deal with YouTube to again make the league exclusive to the Twitch competitor.

Related: CDL’s reported return to YouTube is just another misstep in CoD esports’ eternal search for progress

After a successful Major Two in Boston, fans expected an announcement from the league about the reported return to YouTube. But a week passed with no news. And then another week. Ultimately, the CDL continued streaming on Twitch throughout February and March, giving some relief to fans who feared leaving Twitch would also mean leaving behind the increased viewership the league has experienced thanks to co-streams from the likes of Scump, ZooMaa, Methodz, and others. And now, those fears should completely disappear—at least until the end of the current season.

Today’s announcement that Twitch and YouTube would share CDL broadcasts has been one of the best-received announcements in the league’s history. And it’s not hard to see why when looking at the viewership of the CDL.

The most recent LAN tournament, Major Three, which was hosted by OpTic Texas in March, had the highest peak viewership and most hours watched of any event in CDL history, according to Esports Charts. The second Major of the season also ranks fourth in peak viewership among the CDL tournaments recorded by Esports Charts.

The league has posted impressive numbers on YouTube before as well, such as the 2020 CDL Championship, which attracted more than 330,000 viewers at its peak despite being the first and only online CoD world championship. And that’s why it’s objectively a good idea to co-stream on Twitch and YouTube.

Simply put, streaming on the two largest livestreaming platforms allows for more eyeballs to see the CDL on any given weekend. Whether the move will significantly increase the league’s viewership remains to be seen, but it’s undeniable that by limiting the places your product can be viewed, fewer people will ultimately view them. This is especially true when Scump, CoD esports’ biggest personality, streams on one platform, and CouRage and TimTheTatman, two large CoD-adjacent streamers, are exclusive to another platform.

The CDL has arguably never been more competitive. In fact, since the league’s Majors returned to LAN in 2021, no team has won more than a single Major in a season. The unpredictability, along with the trademark trash talk, adds to the drama and intrigue that CoD esports has always delivered. But now, it can be seen by many more potential fans.

About the author
Preston Byers

Dot Esports associate editor. Co-host of the Ego Chall Podcast. Since discovering esports through the 2013 Call of Duty Championship, Preston has pursued a career in esports and gaming. He graduated from Youngstown State University with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2021.