Some players are being charged $530 more than retail value.
Players in the Challengers system for Call of Duty are struggling to get hold of team passes for the Raleigh Open, the first Major event of the season.
The Call of Duty League made just 96 passes available to buy for Challengers players for the event. This is despite over nearly 1,000 teams signing up for the first Cup event of the season at the start of November across all four regions of the competition.
Team passes for the Raleigh
Open were priced at $470 for Challengers
players. People have seemingly bought these team passes with no intention of attending the event in North Carolina.
Challengers team passes for Raleigh are sold out. Screenshot via Esports.gg.
Several people have reported scalpers attempting to sell these team passes on for huge gains. Some have been quoted to be costing upwards of $1,000. That's over a 100% markup.
Raleigh's Open event is being held at the Raleigh Convention Center. At the start of the first Halo Championship Series season of Halo: Infinite, Microsoft
and Bungie held a kick-off Open at the same venue.
At that LAN, 230 teams were able to take part with team passes costing just $300. It makes no sense as to why so few teams are able to attend the Call of Duty event. The only presumption is that it is purely down to timings and the number of rounds of action that the organisers would have to fit into the event.
Why did the CDL limit the number of teams?
It would probably take it beyond its limit of running side-by-side the Call of Duty League
action at the event. The CDL likes to have the Challengers event wrapped up by the time the Grand Finals of the Major happen. It forces all the Challengers players and spectators into the arena to watch the big match.
Massive names in the competitive Call of Duty scene attend Challengers events. This includes Doug "Censor" Martin. Image via
One consideration that has to be accounted for is the fact that the weekend in Raleigh will also feature the Call of Duty: Mobile
World Championship. That's an extra 16 Call of Duty teams. Each of those are made up of five players, all requiring space to compete.
That still doesn't come close to the near-1,000 player base that was taking part in the Halo kickoff in the very same venue.
How do the players feel?
Understandably, the general consensus amongst Challengers players is one of distaste about the situation.
Currently, several top teams will be missing the event should they not qualify for the Pro-Am. These teams include former CDL players Harry "Harry" Payne, Joey "Gismo" Owen and former Call of Duty World Champion Johnathan "John" Perez.
WarDy may not be in action in Raleigh because of the team pass scalping. Image via Ant Stonelake.
Even New York Subliners substitute Elliot "WarDy" Ward could be left searching for a place at the event because of the issue.
Lots of players are starting to acknowledge that the Raleigh event will be without many of the top players in the Challengers system because of the issue.
"The league would receive another possible $10k-15k"
"The league would receive another possible $10k-15k in team pass sales because of the now marked-up prices and they are still refusing to add more," Challengers player Jourdan "Zinx" Anderson told us.
"Half of the top 32 seeds in NA alone will not be showing up. In the history of open bracket, this has never happened. It’s purely unacceptable for the people in charge, and we in challengers should not have to put out the tweets that we do every couple of months about how these things are being handled for the future of their league."
Challengers competition is the breeding ground for some of the brightest up-and-coming stars in Call of Duty esports. Image via Ant Stonelake.
The team pass issue also makes it difficult for Challengers-based organizations to get their teams to events.
Joshua Resch, who is the Chief Operating Officer of the sixth seeded team in NA, Decimate tried to reach out to the league for assistance regarding the issue. He is yet to hear back. Resch sent an email to the league and pleaded for cooperation.
"This is egregious. Please reach out at your earliest convenience and work with us," his message said. He went on to detail how the increased scalper prices will stop his organisation from being able to support the team that they have.
Further complications worldwide
European teams face ever further costs with having to fly over from across the Atlantic. James "Genesis" Smith who would have to fork out extra to attend the event. Image via Ant Stonelake.
Players in the EU, APAC and LATAM regions are also having to worry about the cost of their flights to the event on top of price of admission. Some flights, if booked from London now, can cost up to $1,400 per player.
One European team said that they'd be happy to pay a scalper's price for a team pass. Competing at the event is more important to them than the money they'd spend.
Felix "FDot" Mckee said that he and his team would be willing to pay $130 over the odds for a team pass. Even then, they are struggling to get their hands on one.
Denza (pictured) is currently on the #2 seeded team in EU. They are reportedly without a team pass. Image via Ant Stonelake.
"We can’t find one anywhere we have the money ready to send," Mckee told us. "It’s annoying because we can’t book flights or anything until we get a pass so it’s such a difficult situation."
He also asked for the league to take more care of the Challengers system. He wants to attend the Raleigh event alongside his team, including Joshua "Rezzy" Robbins, Pac and Shaun "Shaun" Sahota.
"Activision needs to care about Challengers more," Mckee added. "It's the only way pros are made. It's the only way they can come up and they need more support."
What can be done?
There are several suggestions on how to combat this issue of scalpers picking up team passes. Some believe top-seeded players deserve priority.
Jourdan "Zinx" Anderson suggested that all members of the team that plays at the event should be registered when buying a pass. This would stop individuals being able to go out and buy passes without the intention of playing at the event.
Resch concurred with that sentiment. "Too many free agent players get passes and never even go," he said. "There should be a presale to the top 16 teams from each region so they have the ability to get it before it goes public."
Lots of ex-CDL players now compete in Challengers, including Luis "Fire" Rivera. Image via Ant Stonelake.
Although neither of these solutions would completely fix the problem of people scalping team passes, they would certainly go a long way to helping.
It doesn't seem like anything will change any time soon, though. Boston Breach launched tickets for their tournament at the start of February on Nov. 30. Team passes for that event start at $550 and reach over $580 with a service fee included.