CWL London, Presented by PlayStation®4, is poised to be “something absolutely magical,” Call of Duty World League on-air talent Ben “Benson” Bowe declared.
Call of Duty World League’s third open event of the 2019 season will be held at the Copper Box Arena in London May 3 – 5, and it has all the necessary components to be a great success.
Bowe’s originally from Manchester, a city 200 miles northwest of London, and watched that evolution firsthand. When fans first started coming to events, “they were nowhere near as vocal and they were kind of seen as awkward. North America always had ‘the fans’ at open events. Now, that has taken a big turn at the past couple of European events.”
That “turn” is thanks in part to increased social acceptance of video games and esports in Europe. America was always “just a little bit ahead,” Bowe said. Europeans’ hesitance to get loud at esports events was “super ironic” because of how animated fans get for sports like football. But now, “you apply that to something you're super passionate about like video games and you have some of the most creative people coming up with the most creative chants.”
He took a moment to let former pro and current CWL on-air analyst Anthony “Nameless” Wheeler know he’s going to learn a thing or two in London about what a real esports chant is.
“I do have some sass,” Bowe laughed. “I would like to go at one of our colleagues, I want to go at Nameless. He thinks he can get the crowd going better than I can, which I think is utter nonsense. For one, you won't see many Brits sat behind an American. All Ant knows how to chant is ‘Let's go ‘insert team name here!’”
It’s not just fans’ rivalries or chants making CWL London special, Bowe explained, but also the inherent differences for any non-American event.
“In terms of a European event, there's only been one where a European team won it on a major level. They've won elsewhere, but they want to do it on their home soil, they want to finally lift a trophy at a major open event,” Bowe said. “It has been a long, long time coming and they have the momentum.”
Playing in front of their families is sure to add to the electricity of the moment, too.
“Some of the players bring out their families to see them play for the first or second time. They don't get to do that when they're in the U.S.”
“All these extra little things make a difference, which I feel like, American players kind of take for granted a little bit or don't see the massive impact of” because they simply don’t travel like European players do. “I love that the Brits, the Spanish, the French, it makes a win more possible. It can give them a great boost at the end of the day.”
Americans are excited for CWL London as well, with a lot of pros telling Bowe they can’t wait to experience the crowd.
“At CWL Birmingham last year, every professional player I spoke to was like: ‘I don't know what that was, but I've never seen a crowd like that.’ It blew everything you've ever seen out of the water. Every player you speak to will tell you, coming to this event, they are so excited for the crowd.”
Bowe did have a word of advice for American players: Beware jet lag.
It will be interesting “seeing how different teams and different players adapt” to jet lag, Bowe said. “Obviously, there are some players out there, like OpTic Gaming’s Seth ‘Scump’ Abner. He has been doing this for years and years and years, so he's well trained on how to do it. But there are some younger players on the circuit who may be going international for the first time who may struggle. Jet lag is a pain. If you're not ready for it, it will really kicked you in the butt.”
International events are critical to growing the Call of Duty esports brand, in part, by allowing overseas fans the chance to show “they’re a force to be reckoned with,” Bowe said. Events like CWL London demonstrate that there’s a hunger for more international events.
Just look at the Spanish, Bowe stressed: “Last year, they were running an individual league and they were getting 20,000 viewers. They have a massive fan base out there. At the end of the day, you look at what the future holds for Call of Duty esports, reaching all of those different communities and countries is massive to growing the game.”
As for Bowe himself? He can’t wait to get home.
“It's always nice, having extra time to see the family. Since I moved, I haven't seen them as much as I would like. I feel like you kind of take it for granted when you live close to your family, but when you move across the world, really those extra hours are great.”
Call of Duty’s next open event is only days away, and Bowe can’t overstate his conviction that CWL London will be remembered for a very long time.
“I genuinely do believe with Gfinity at the helm, they'll produce something absolutely magical. We're in my home country's capital. It will genuinely be one of the greatest international events, ever,” Bowe asserted. “I don't think there will be an event that beats this for quite some time.”
Although the event has limited tickets remaining [While Supplies Last], you can watch multiple streams highlighting both the CWL London Cup and the MTN DEW® AMP® GAME FUEL® Open Bracket live on Twitch.tv/CallofDuty, MLG.com and in-game on the PlayStation®4.