In some ways, Victoria Horsley told Esports Insider, her move from the North American collegiate esports scene feels like a graduation. Horsley’s name has been ingrained for the past four and a half years in collegiate esports, speaking on panels and being vocal about opportunities in the space for as long as she’s been involved.
On Monday, Horsley announced that she had accepted the role as League Operations, Global Competitive Team, VALORANT, at Riot Games. She’ll be joining Alex Francois, Global Head of Competitive Operations as the team continues to build out its competitive esports arm, including the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT).
Horsley told ESI, “I’ll be assisting in all league and tournament operations such as structure, rules, player banning, and working with the dev team to integrate patches into the timeline.” All being well, she’ll begin her role on April 5th, moving to Los Angeles to work in Riot Studios.
In the meantime, Horsley has been assisting with digital marketing & social media for Esports Insider’s ESI Digital Spring, taking place March 30th-31st.
Horsley chose the role with the intent to hone in on the operations-related aspects of esports and running tournaments. “Some of the most fun I’ve ever had in esports have been doing events,” Horsley said, “and because I always liked working with publishers through my time in collegiate esports, moving to Riot made a lot of sense.”
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The Missouri native has over 10 years of sports and esports experience, from running local tournaments to managing amateur teams, to competing herself at the semi-pro and amateur levels. “Because amateur and collegiate scenes have a natural overlap, I started working more in the collegiate scene when I was in university.”
She eventually took a role as Director of Events and Marketing at the National Association of Collegiate Esports, responsible for communications, social media, and tournament administration for all schools within the association’s jurisdiction.
From there, she was made President of the Unified Collegiate Esports Association and Founder of the UCEA Brand where she served for just over a year before stepping away this past January to pursue other options in the industry.
When asked about her move from collegiate to the professional esports operations, she expressed that she will continue her work as an advocate for collegiate esports. “I felt I needed somewhere that I could be truly utilised,” Horsley said, “and have the chance to provide as many opportunities as I know I can.”
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On top of starting her new role, Horsley will graduate in May with an MBA from Missouri State University, where she also achieved her Bachelor’s Degree in Entertainment Management.
“VALORANT became one of my favourite games to play and watch last year,” Horsley said, ”so the opportunity to build something brand new from the ground up is exciting. I’ll be jumping right into VCT and its direction, as well as the future path the tournament is taking.”
The shape of VALORANT esports has yet to be determined and its pro, amateur and collegiate scenes are all developing on the fly as the game enjoys ever-growing popularity. With nine different regions supporting the tour, Horsley’s role will be instrumental in VALORANT planting its spike in the esports ecosystem and its community’s favour.