After six months of waiting, Riot Games has finally announced the format and starting date of its new NA LCS Academy League.
Similar to its NA LCS counterpart, the Academy League will adopt a best-of-one double round robin format, and be played over the course of two days—every Thursday and Friday. With a nine week long regular season, the Academy League will have a condensed playoff, which will feature the league’s top four teams. Unlike the regular season though, the Academy League’s playoff matches will be played in a best-of-five format.
Unfortunately, not all of the Academy League matches will be broadcast. Due to the double round robin regular season format, the Academy League will only have one broadcast a week, with Thursday’s games being played off-air. All of the Academy League’s playoff matches will be played on broadcast though, and take place at the NA LCS studio.
Originally announced in June as the successor to the North American Challenger Series, the Academy League was created as a way for NA LCS teams to foster talent. Now required to field an academy roster, these teams now have a way to grow talent without risking any NA LCS games. At the time of this announcement, only five NA LCS teams have announced their academy rosters. These teams are TSM, Cloud9, CLG, FlyQuest, and Echo Fox.
While the specific time is still unknown, the Academy League is set to begin on Jan. 18, while the league’s first broadcast will be on Jan. 19. Information on VOD availability and a match schedule will be released soon, according to Riot Games.