Time for another change for the Northern Europe region, as DreamHack/ESL relinquishes management role.
It feels like only yesterday that DreamHack/ESL took over the running of the ERL. At the time, they took over the running of the UK event; later merging it into the larger Nordic league. Today, Riot Games has announced another change. With DreamHack/ESL handing over management of the league to Freaks 4U Gaming, the company that runs the current Prime League in the DACH region.
The NLC has been operating in its current form for just a year, and with “big changes” coming to the European regional leagues in 2022, it looks like Riot Games is shaking things up yet again. The region has more than held its own in recent years, with BTXL picking up second place at the most recent European Masters in Spring. This year also saw a non-academy side take the Summer Split crown after Tricked Esports beat Fnatic Rising in the Summer Grand Final.
Freaks 4U Gaming will take over the running of the Northern League in 2022. As well as the league’s “path to pro” leagues. Riot Games stated that “Freaks 4U Gaming will support us in implementing the European ecosystem-wide changes we are looking to introduce to all ERLs from 2022, which we teased in our announcement from July 29.”
Changes are coming
In an announcement, Riot Games outlined a number of changes, though admitted they’d have more information in the future:
- 2021 will mark the last season of the UKLC, Telia Esports Series, and Telia Masters.
- Freaks 4U will take over the NLC from 2022 and introduce a multi-division league ecosystem that will be open to all teams from the region; similar to the League of Legends Prime League model.
- Divisions 1 and 2 will conform to our standardized league size of 10 teams per ERL. This is a mandatory requirement for accredited ERLs across Europe from 2022
- To facilitate this ecosystem change, the originally planned 2021 Summer Promotion Tournament between Telia Masters and NLC will be canceled.
Instead, Freaks 4U Gaming will set up a calibration stage to determine the slots for division 1 as well as the multi-division ecosystem from September, where teams from Northern Europe are encouraged to register to participate. The Top 6 teams of the NLC Summer Split will be automatically seeded into the new first division of NLC. All other teams and divisions will be filled via the calibration phase tournament, with previous NLC teams and the Top 2 Telia Masters teams receiving a seeding advantage.
Not everyone is happy
Not everyone is as infused by these new changes, however. A number of team owners have already spoken out on Twitter to express their concerns. With many not being given any heads up.
Founder and CEO of Williams Resolve:
So we just spent 2 years building our organisation, investing in players and the UK scene and finally getting to the point where we can start in Spring 2022 with 1 year contracts, full time staff and being secured in the NLC just to be told we have to start again?
— Ilias (@RSVRai) August 20, 2021
I often made comments that there was so much risk in that teams could spend $$$ getting from UKEL to NLC, for the whole structure to just be changed and all that money lost.
Mad to see it actually happen, with no advanced warning and to be informed by Twitter, not the league 😭
— Christopher Sword (@chrisrsword) August 20, 2021
Former Granit Gaming Manager:
Like the new system but really unfair towards the NLC organizations… And they will start September so there's no decent amount of time to gather back your players and try to practice… Actually, the teams which ended up in the Relegations have an advantage XD https://t.co/NWZLriJCSK
— Balázs Köves (@MrDragoR) August 20, 2021
We'll be sure to keep you informed about any further developments surrounding the ERL.