By Adrian Bueno
Toronto’s latest esports franchise, Toronto Ultra, is getting ready to play their home series’ at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on March 21-22 and June 27-28.
The team is participating in the 2020 Call of Duty league and is the city’s second official esports franchise after the Overwatch League’s Toronto Defiant.
“[This is a] monumental event in the history of Ryerson,” said RTA professor of video games Kristopher Alexander. “We’ve had access to the MAC for some time, and we’ve yet to have a flagship event out of it.”
The Toronto Ultra’s roster is comprised of five starters and five reserves from several nations, including Canada, the U.S., Spain, Denmark, England and Scotland.
Games are played across three different modes and matches are first to three.
According to ESPN, creating a city-based franchise for the Call of Duty league costs around $25 million.
For Benson Figueiredo, a Call of Duty league ticket holder, the game has been a large part of his life, and it all started with Call of Duty 2.
“I can’t believe I get to now see people playing video games in a stadium,” said Figueiredo.
During the Call of Duty league’s inaugural weekend in late January, live streams of the event peaked at over 102,000 viewers.
“I think there’s still room to grow, but based off the numbers from last year, this was pretty high for viewership,” said Figueiredo. “With [Call of Duty], it’s so much easier for casual fans to watch and understand.”
OverActive Media, the organization behind both of Toronto’s esports teams, said in an interview with Daily eSports that they are excited about the potential growth of esports in the city.
Toronto Ultra currently sits at 1-1 on the season after a loss to the Minnesota Rokkr. The team will travel to England for their next match against the London Royal Ravens.
“The world is going to see the first Call of Duty franchise in Canada call Ryerson their home,” said Alexander.