Activision’s Call of Duty Debuts Global Championship
Call of Duty, the largest gaming franchise in the world, nailed it through this proprietary Championship event, creating an ownable, global platform that had all the fixings of a major sports property—from live coverage to post-game analysis—that also leveraged two key partnerships.
eSports (competitive video gaming) is something to watch out for, because it may soon rival that of platforms like the X-Games in terms of viewership.
To reinforce its leadership role in the gaming community and debut and drive sales of new “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” downloadable content, publisher Activision created the proprietary, global tournament The Call of Duty Championship, an event that distributed real-time content to audiences across the globe. Through a series of global qualifiers, top teams from Australia, Brazil, Europe, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Africa, South Korea and the U.S. made their way to Los Angeles for the chance to compete for a piece of the $1 million prize.
Players received custom team jerseys with a logo and gamertag (your username/nickname in videogaming) and competed at the Hollywood Palladium. The venue featured multiple elevated stages, each set up for two teams to play head-to-head above the crowds. Giant screens were posted above so attendees could watch the action. eSports announcing legends Fwizz and H@str0 were behind an ESPN “SportsCenter”-style set. Through partnerships with Twitch.tv and Microsoft, Activision was able to live stream coverage from each round of competition as well as post-match team interviews, which were made available as exclusive Xbox 360 content.
A combined 120 members of the gaming media were given the opportunity to: meet with participating teams, players and developers at a pre-tournament kick-off mixer; have direct gameplay footage provided to them for content to be produced live from the tournament; participate in press conference style post-match briefings with the teams and players; interview key spokespersons from the game developer, Treyarch, and the co-founder of Major League Gaming (MLG); and view a pro vs. GI Joe’s special session with Alden Smith of San Francisco 49ers playing a team of on-site GI’s, as well as active duty military stationed at Camp Kandahar in Afghanistan.
Over the weekend of the championship, 6.7 million viewers worldwide tuned in to the three-day competition. Compare this to: the season three “Game of Thrones” premiere, which matched that. The championship was viewed 2.5 times more than the viewership of the season six “Mad Men” finale and three times more than the season four “Boardwalk Empire” finale.