I'm a bit disappointed in what could've resulted from the death of ESEA--a singular league that accommodates the community with credible and respectable administration, in addition to a prize pot--but hasn't all occurred.
I don't know if there's a real benefit of people playing in NACL at all. Imo it's okay for there to be a free league and a prized league, although I don't particularly advocate for that (and how that's been a thing with ESEA and UGC lasting together), and I don't know if there needs to be two of each. To me, NACL seems like an upgrade to UGC, where its intention from what I read, was to be an ESEA replacement. This is disappointing, although understandable, because dropping money for a league to have prizes is a bit of a task.
TFCL seems to be even more disappointing because the top tier/division isn't advertised for ESEA Invite level of course, but also what led to this. I don't know much about TFCL and why it isn't as big as it seems like it could be, but that always leads back to the administration and the choices they made. From my understanding, their sixes leagues weren't successful (https://www.teamfortress.tv/post/949165/re-introducing-the-tfcl-sixes-league-tfcl-2-0).
RGL is the only league atm that is inevitably going to replace ESEA (unless some significant actions are made) due to it having the largest prize pot by quite a margin, as well as some "success" so far. Unfortunately, prizes are one of the most dominant factors in what league to play in as a replacement for ESEA, unless, also, the administration decisions are questionable, which leads to the important point that RGL doesn't particularly satisfy the community. Botmode's essay (https://www.teamfortress.tv/post/949378/on-natf2s-future) covered this well. One thing, though, botmode didn't delve into (but implied), unless I missed it, is that the respectability and credibility of the administration at RGL is kind of a joke, and that alone makes people not want to play in that league.
But what's more disappointing than all of these individual negatives (that I didn't go into too much detail and many, many more that I haven't listed) resulting in four mediocre leagues, is why this happened: the selfishness of some business ideas instead of working as a team for the better of the TF2 scene and specifically the inability to work together to make one legitimate, credible, trustworthy, but also large league, where resources could be combined. It would be pretty cool if there were one large, successful league, where any sponsorship for instance, big or small, could go towards this one league that would essentially go towards the entire competitive TF2 scene. Not working as a team to combine one league is understandable if it's making you a lot of money @sid @sigafoo @whoever else makes money off of leagues, but it is most certainly not respected in regards to the scene of TF2. I don't necessarily see this changing if it didn't already either.
Thus, I suppose the community is going to have a couple failed leagues that were a waste of resources that could've been used for this "one league" (and unfortunately personal time) that will eventually result in a league that is worse than what could've been. In any case, now is the time to make the competitive TF2 scene more enjoyable for everyone. The progress I see is by far the opposite.
A few things to ensure a successful league in my opinion, at the very minimum, are to:
1) Appoint a head admin (and other relative admin positions) by the community
2) Continue to listen to community polls in regards to map bans, to whitelists, to even broadcasting rule, etc.
3) Run the league as a non-profit for the good of the community
Correct me if any of this is wrong. It's just how everything has come across to me.