In preparation for the 2023 Spring Split, Riot Games is implementing significant changes to the broadcast schedules for all major territories. The LCS’s transition to weekdays in North America is the greatest and possibly most contentious change. Fans in North America no longer have access to home-region League of Legends action on the weekends after the LCS studio moved to the Riot Games Arena to make room for VCT games taking the weekend time slot.

The replacement of Academy with the brand-new North America Challengers League was one of the other significant adjustments Riot announced earlier this month. The appropriately called NACL will pit the 10 academy lineups against the six amateur squads from the North American scene. Riot has taken great steps to develop even more native NA talent, outfitting the league with a regular season, playoffs, and relegation system. What makes NA League supporters happy? On the weekends, this brand-new league will be webcast.

This will undoubtedly significantly increase the number of spectators for Riot’s newest endeavor inside the scene. With the LCS and NACL taking place on different days, the goal is to attract a North American audience that can watch high-level NA League throughout the week and on the weekends. The LCS pros and NACL hopefuls can mix even more in the new system because all NACL players will have access to Champions Queue.

The NACL’s start date of January 21 and the return of promotion events to North America beginning in late April were also recently revealed by Riot. Sixteen teams, including all 10 of the previous Academy rosters from LCS clubs, will compete in the Challengers League. The Challenger rosters have replaced all formerly recognized Academy rosters. A list of amateur organization candidates was used to choose the final six teams, and several well-known amateur teams, such as Area of Effect Esports, were given official NACL slots.

The first round of open qualifications for the relegation tournament in late April is another noteworthy event that takes place in late January. These qualifications will be crucial in generating pressure and competitiveness in the NACL as the previous Path to the LCS and Academy have been combined into one league alongside it. Any amateur organization with a roster made up of high-elo players will compete in open qualifying events throughout the first split of the NACL in an effort to unseat the Challengers League’s weakest teams.

The beginning of the NACL on January 21 serves as the first set of qualifying dates for these hungry amateur rosters. The North American League will hold many rounds of open qualifications during the winter and spring to prepare for the first relegation event in many years.

Although the North American League is now full of uncertainties and unknowns, the brand-new North American Challengers League’s future in its new weekend time slot is undoubtedly promising.