Many players, coaches and staff members have been heavily affected by these sudden changes.
Multiple LCS organizations, including the defending NACL champions Cloud9, have opted to step away from their NACL duties. The move comes following the Riot Games announcement on May 12. The announcement stated that LCS organizations are no longer required to field an NACL roster.
In the span of six days, six LCS organizations have already dropped their NACL programs. Cloud9, NRG, Dignitas, and Golden Guardians have announced they will be stepping away from North America's developmental league. The other two teams who have reportedly left are TSM and Immortals. Both organizations have yet to make a public statement. However, the LCS Players Association announced via Twitter that both organizations have stepped away.
What is the North American Challengers League?
The North American Challengers League is a sixteen-team League that acts as the tier two scene for NA League of Legends. When the LCS started its franchised model in 2018, all teams were required to field both an LCS roster as well as an Academy/Challengers roster. The Academy League has overseen many changes across the years but the one constant was that LCS teams had to also field and academy (NACL) roster.
Why are LCS organizations stepping away?
Riot Games stated in their announcement article that the LCS organizations requested to 'remove the mandate to field a team for the North American Challengers League (NACL)'. According to the article, the efforts would reportedly 'unlock more operational and financial flexibility'.
In Cloud9's statement, co-founder and CEO Jack Etienne said "To continue supporting our roster for the remainder of this season, we would need to invest approximately half a million dollars. Considering the limited viewership and lack of growth opportunities for our players, we cannot responsibly continue to invest in the Challengers League." According to Etienne, Cloud9 was spending a total of $1,137,865 on its NACL program.
With multiple LCS organizations putting the NACL to the wayside, an absurd amount of players, coaches, and staff are now unemployed and were left blindsided. Below are responses by some of the players who have been affected by the sudden departure of many LCS organizations.
Which LCS teams will continue to field NACL rosters?
In the past twenty-four hours, Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, and FlyQuest have announced they will be remaining in the NACL. Team Liquid was the first organization to announce its commitment to the NACL with a fifteen-minute YouTube video. TL's Co-CEO Steve Arhancet highlights why they voted to make NACL rosters optional, the problems with the current system, and their solutions to fixing said problems.