Game publisher Riot Games has announced significant changes to its League of Legends Northern European Regional League (ERL), the NLC, for 2022.
Amongst the most notable of these sees Freaks 4U Gaming replacing DreamHack as the league’s operator, as well as the implementation of a new multi-division league ecosystem which signals the end of the UKLC, Telia Esports Series and Telia Masters.
Launched in 2020, the NLC is a multi-regional tier-two league that consists of the UK, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland. The structure saw 12 teams compete in the NLC with Telia Masters, a competition featuring UKLC, Telia Esports Series, and Icelandic Esports Open teams, directly below the league.
Under Freaks 4U Gaming, the NLC will now have a multi-divisional league similar to the Prime League, the DACH region’s ERL which is run by Freaks 4U Gaming. Alongside DreamHack, Telia will also no longer be involved with the NLC in 2022.
As a result, the NLC will now have Divisions 1 and 2, with each league having 10 teams. Due to the changes, the NLC promotion/relegation tournament has been cancelled.
The top six NLC Summer Split teams will be automatically seeded into the new first division. All other teams will enter into a ‘calibration stage’ created by Freaks 4U Gaming in September to determine the other remaining participants.
Riot Games has revealed that the previous NLC teams and the top two Telia Masters teams will receive a seeding advantage.
Michael Haenisch, CEO, Freaks 4U Gaming, commented on the announcement: “Freaks 4U Gaming is excited for the opportunity to bring our proven experiences in Prime League to NLC. Together with Riot Games, we will streamline the league ecosystem to tackle challenges related to accessibility, complexity, and competitiveness.
“With the ultimate goal of providing the best esports experiences and high-quality content for players and spectators alike, we look forward to replicating our success in the DACH region for Northern Europe.”
According to the release, Riot Games will release more details regarding the NLC 2022 season at a later date. Nevertheless, the publisher has confirmed that the ERL will be classed as an accredited league under Riot Games’s new system.
Esports Insider says: Whilst Freaks 4U Gaming will undoubtedly do a good job managing the NLC, given the operator’s similar experience with the Prime League, the move does put into question the future of the title’s UK scene. With the NLC now having a multi-divisional system, the UKLC is no more and it raises the question as to how the UKEL (the UK’s third division) will feature going forwards too.