After a few weeks of rumors and reports, Riot Games gave some important information about the LCS import rules and its second division, the NACL.
LCS teams are no longer required to field an academy team
Riot confirmed in its public statement that LCS teams will no longer be required to field a team in the North American Challengers League (NACL). This change will be almost immediate since it will begin with the upcoming Summer Split.
The decision came after several LCS teams asked the publisher to ensure better operational and financial flexibility. Riot agreed to the request with the goal of maintaining a sustainable professional esports ecosystem in NA.
That being said, Riot still wants to evolve the NA talent development pipeline. Therefore, the NACL will still continue to be operational going forward, but there will be some adjustments to the format.
Our Commitment to the NACL
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) May 12, 2023
First, Riot will be implementing a true promotion/relegation system for NACL, where all NACL teams are eligible for relegation. The Chicago servers will be made available for the competition to make the NACL more geographically accessible. On top of that, the organizers will also look to implement Twitch subscriptions and team partner broadcast integrations mirroring the LCS to help with long-term sustainability.
Most importantly, however, Riot is considering expanding competitive opportunities for the NA developmental system by delivering cross-region competition for the Americas as early as 2024, including North America, Latin America, and Brazil. More details will be shared in the near future.
LCS Import Rules Update
With NACL undergoing major changes during this mid-season break, Riot announced they have no plans to change the current import rules for the LCS. This negates the buzz that was going around in the last few weeks about the LCS might be looking to increase the number of imports to 3 players per team.
“We’ll work with LCS teams to ensure that they have strong avenues to scout players even if they are not involved in the NA developmental ecosystem directly,” said Raul Fernandez, Head of Esports for the Americas region. “We’ll also continue to take steps to evolve our developmental ecosystem to ensure the systems and structures in place support the aspirations of potential pro players by helping them grow, building their brands, sharing their stories, creating opportunities to be scouted, and finding a path to the next level of play.”