Grading the leaked CDL franchise team names

So thank God for computer nerds, am I right? (Still wish I could code!) Thanks to someone's deep dive into the code for the official Call of Duty League website we have the "official" list of names for the new COD franchises that are emerging. Here is said tweet:

Since the code has now been removed, it's reasonable to assume that there was some truth to what was posted. Personally, I think that my hometown team could've come up with something much better.

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I came up with better ideas for them first, then quickly realised that I could do so for the whole league. Here are my thoughts for each franchise, and what I would do differently if I were on their marketing teams. And if you're reading this as a member of said marketing teams, feel free to use these ideas and we'll chat on Twitter about some merch as payment!

The Good

Dallas Empire

Grade: A-

Thoughts: I think it's appropriate that the Dallas-Forth Worth area be a Call of Duty "Empire". With some of the biggest names in COD history past and present calling the area home (Envy, Complexity, OpTic, etc) this appropriately pays homage to the rich esports culture of the region.

Instead Try: I would keep it as is. I can't think of anything more justifiable than what already exists.


Minnesota Rokkr

Grade: A+

Thoughts: This is by far my favorite of those "released". And if you hate it you clearly didn't even take the time to Google what it meant. The Minnesotan people have embraced Norse culture largely due to their NFL (American football) franchise, the Minnesota Vikings. This builds on that existing sentiment in a subtle way that has an unbelievable amount of marketing potential and wow factor. Hats off, they're doing something very right in the Land of 10,000 lakes.

Instead Try: Absolutely nothing, keep this exactly the way it already is.

Paris Legion

Grade: B

Thoughts: You're implementing a worldwide Call of Duty league and the French Foreign Legion is unique in accepting foreign recruits. So much marketing potential and underlying symbolism that's possible with this franchise, I like it a lot.

Instead Try: The Paris Legionnaires, a minor adjustment that could perhaps make the parallels more obvious, but I like the idea either way.

Seattle Surge

Grade: A

Thoughts: Seattle does a good job with this style of more encompassing names for its sports teams (see the Seattle Storm, the Seattle Supersonics, and the Seattle Sounders). Combine that with the electric environment that the city's sports fans are now known for and you've got a hell of a name to go with the rain and storms of the Pacific Northwest.

Instead Try: N/A, if it's not broken don't fix it.

The Bad

Chicago Huntsman

Grade: C-

Thoughts: Chicago has so much rich history, both in real life and COD. This is where Matthew "Nadeshot" Haag grew up. Where the OpTic house was. And the city has Hector "H3CZ" Rodriguez at the helm of their COD franchise. This name just isn't good enough. I'm a native Chicagoan and I don't get the symbolism of Huntsman if there is any. Also it should be Huntsmen, just saying, grammar is important.

Instead Try: The Chicago Armada for the old naval base. The Chicago Inferno for the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The Chicago Cyclone for the Windy City moniker. The Chicago Bootleggers for the city's mobster history. The Chicago Corrupted (no explanation needed). Literally anything with some meaning.

London Royal Ravens

Grade: C

Thoughts: I get it. The royal family is in London. If we're that married to reminding everyone of that then I think that there are better ways to do it than just slapping royal in front of the first animal that someone thought of that would offer good alliteration with the letter R.

Instead Try: The London Royal Guard. It sounds way more bad ass and maintains the ties to the royalty angle that the franchise is going for. And it doesn't make the franchise sound like it should be in Baltimore.

Los Angeles Guerrillas

Grade: C+

Thoughts: This isn't bad, but it isn't great either. It's unique, but it doesn't scream professional soldier to me. Guerrilla factions have been a near universal enemy on the battlefield in recent world history and I think there's an easy change that sounds phonetically similar but is substantially better.

Instead Try: The Los Angeles Guardians. A little play on words with the expression guardian angel, and it just sounds better for the professional soldier imagery displayed by COD.

Toronto Ultra

Grade: D+

Thoughts: I don't even know what to think. Ultra what? I keep picturing an Ultra Ball from Pokemon and that's all I've got. This needs some serious work. By that I mean a total overhaul.

Instead Try: The Toronto Mustangs. The city is the focal point of a region called the Golden Horseshoe, and it's infinitely better than what was already "leaked". If you didn't want to do horse-themed branding then you could go for a play on words with one of the most famous American fighter planes of all time as the central focus of your marketing with the name being the tie to the region.

And the Ugly

FaZe Atlanta

Grade: D-

Thoughts: This is so so so tacky. It's huge for the league having the franchise owned by FaZe Clan, but if this is really how little effort went into the name, I'm not buying into the hype for the team itself.

Instead Try: The Atlanta Resurgence. The city motto is "Resurgens", it would fit perfectly with #FaZeUp, and it's literally begging to become the name of the franchise. Please.

Florida Mutineers

Grade: F

Thoughts: Dear god. WHY DOES FLORIDA NEED ANOTHER PIRATE THEMED FRANCHISE. You can just buy an eyepatch for Halloween and go to any sporting event in the state for the rest of your life, it's ridiculous. They already have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Bradenton Marauders, the Florida Mayhem in Overwatch, it's too much. Shake it up a bit.

Instead Try: The Florida Asylum. Many Cuban refugees have come through Florida seeking asylum and have integrated into Floridian culture in a big way. There would be cool branding using the alternative meaning in relationship to the Misfits brand while weaving into the fabric of the area nicely.

Los Angeles OpTic

Grade: D-

Thoughts: I guess once H3CZ left no one at Immortals really cares about the OpTic brand anymore because this is just shameful if it's true. Come up with something better or OpTic fans will jump ship for the Chicago franchise where the father of their brand went.

Instead Try: The Los Angeles OGs. There would be ways to pull this off without making it seem like a glorification of gang culture. It keeps OpTic Gaming in the name more subtly, and emphasizes their place and history as the original bad boys of COD.

New York Subliners

Grade: D

Thoughts: This is one step about the laziness of LA OpTic and Atlanta FaZe. They made up a word and I don't even think it's that creative. New York has so many symbols and choices, this one is on par with calling the team the New York Big Apples.

Instead Try: The Manhattan Mercenaries. The Brooklyn/Bronx Berets. The New York Resilience. The Harlem Harriers. The Staten Island SEALs. The Queen's Guard. There's five boroughs of New York City to choose from, I just feel like there was a huge lack of creativity in picking this mascot.