NLC Says It Must ‘Scale Back’ As Sponsorship Dries Out

The Northern League of Legends Championship (NLC) has had a challenging year. Ever since Freaks 4U Gaming took over the Northern European ERL (European Regional Leagues), many of the top teams from the NLC have been leaving the competition. 

Freaks 4U Gaming’s addition was supposed to establish a multi-division league ecosystem, but this move has highlighted chiefly the issues with League of Legends’ grassroots setup and the neglecting of the prize pools for Division 2 to 5. 

Excel Esports Are One Of The Big Teams Looking To Leave In 2023

Excel Esports’ JD XL academy team is one of the more recognizable teams looking to leave the NLS. It seems like the academy team will not exist for long with resources focused on Excel Esports’ LEC endeavors, and other tier-one esports. Some rumors suggest they might be looking at Rocket League and CS:GO esports.  

The underlying reason for this is the viewership numbers. Even though it has been claimed that the viewership numbers aren’t too bad, they aren’t as good as those observed in Spain and France.


Image Credit | NLC

One of the coaches who worked for Excel was highly disappointed by this LoL news, suggesting on his Twitter account that this, in some ways, goes against the foundation of Excel Esports – that the reach of Excel was supposed to help build a platform locally. 

Others highlighted how Excel should be aware of how important the same system was in their genesis, and why so much of the potential in the region won’t get the chance to live up to the potential that was once promised. Some suggested that NLC orgs had never done enough, and this was always going to be the most likely outcome. 

Excel Esports Not The Only Team Looking To Leave

MNM Gaming are another team looking to leave the NLC, and it’s hard to confirm if some of these teams have been encouraged to do the same because of Excel Esports’ departure, but that does look like the case. 

Some reports have suggested that MNM Gaming’s possible departure is a consequence of the economic conditions in the UK. Not all teams are looking for a way out in the same way that Excel Esports are doing, of course. 

The likes of Lucent have been forced into it after getting relegated to Division 3. It looks like the decision to scrap the UKLC tournament, which was in place before Freaks 4U Gaming’s arrival, has led to the NLC’s decline. 

Time To Scale Back?

It is hard to confirm if this was always going to be the case, but in an emerging industry like esports, the best teams have never been too certain of the future. The stakes for survival are far more significant for teams in the bottom divisions. 

League of Legends esports has suggested that it is time to reflect and lower expectations so that the sponsorship money doesn’t dry out. This is hardest for members of these teams and coaches who spend a significant amount of time on these projects. 

Seeing them not live up to their potential can be disheartening, and it is devastating when big names like Excel Esports decide not to stick through. The likes of Excel Esports and their achievements illustrate just how far one can go, but seeing them leave can be equally damaging to the survival of a league. 

Esports teams tend to come and go because the communities need to be larger for the time being to make sure they survive, but there is a feeling that the likes of Excel Esports weren’t facing such an issue. In the end, the choice rests with these teams. The NLC will have a tough couple of months ahead.