Last year Melbourne's Crown Casino combined with FOX Sports and ESL Australia to shine a spotlight on the Australian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene. Early next month, Crown will be dipping their feet into the esports pool once more with Call of Duty.
Photo: ESL Australia
It's a very similar format to last year's CSGO Crown Invitational; it's even being held in the same hall. 4 Australian teams will battle it out for the chance to take on two foreign juggernauts, in the form of Millennium and Optic Gaming from the United States. Millennium's presence should also add a little flavour: while the organisation is based in France, three of its four Call of Duty players are from the United Kingdom.
Crown is stumping up $70,000 over the course of the event, which runs across April 9 and 10. The interesting element, however, is that the four Australian teams will be selected from the Challenger Division.
For those unaware, the Challenger Division is essentially the second tier in the Call of Duty World League heirachy. Much like League of Legends, teams can be demoted into Challenger or promoted afterwards; there are no promotions or relegations during the season, however.
Crown aren't doing this from the bottom of their heart, however. The cheapest tickets for a single day cost just over $56 with fees and charges included, while passes for the entire weekend are available for over $100. Two-day passes for a seat in the stalls — that's just up the front — are still available, although some of those will cost $275.20.
If that seemed exorbitant to watch a bit of Call of Duty live — while being charged nearly a tenner for a schooner — consider the VIP packages: $509.70 at the time of writing. That gets you allocated booth seating, a meet and greet with the teams, a game with the professionals and entry for both days.
Nevertheless, Crown's continuing involvement with the local esports scene will undoubtedly be welcomed. It's also a good spotlight for the Australian Call of Duty scene, which has consistently performed better on the world stage over the last few years than representatives in other prominent esports disciplines.
The exact breakdown of the prize pool wasn't available at the time of writing, although I've reached out to the local organisers for comment. There's also no word of whether this event will be televised on FOX Sports like last year's Crown Invitational was, although the program schedule for FOX Sports across April 9 and 10 will become public info as of next week.