VALORANT introduces international leagues and partnership model

Games publisher Riot Games has unveiled a range of new plans for its VALORANT esports circuit and ecosystem.

Starting in 2023, the publisher will create three international leagues in addition to running applications to identify long-term team partners for VALORANT’s new esports circuit.

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The three international leagues will contain teams from Europe, the Americas and Asia competing on LAN and in front of a live audience. Teams competing in the ‘week-over-week’ competitions will have the opportunity to qualify for two Masters events and the VALORANT Champions tournament.

In addition to the international leagues, the publisher will also expand its current Challengers and Game Changers systems. The launch of new domestic leagues are also expected to expand opportunities for up-and-coming talent that want to reach the international leagues.

According to the release, these leagues will also integrate into a new in-game mode designed to find the best VALORANT players from around the world. 

John Needham, President of Esports at Riot Games, commented: “Together, all these elements will contribute to a competitive ecosystem that will position VALORANT for its next stage of growth. We want to build the top level of competition that will provide more exciting matches, new events that will thrill live audiences, and engaging experiences for millions of online fans.”

Image credit: Riot Games

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With regards to its partnership programme, Riot Games will forgo any entry and participation fees for teams that meet the criteria to become partners of the VALORANT esports circuit. Additionally, qualifying teams will earn opportunities to collaborate on in-game activations and the ability to ‘distribute esports branded content’.

Whalen Rozelle, Head of Esports Operations at Riot Games, spoke on the changes: “With VALORANT, we want to build today’s most thrilling esport alongside the most well-managed, ambitious, and exciting teams in the industry.

“We have designed our long-term partnership model for VALORANT so teams can thrive and build their business alongside the overall growth of VALORANT Esports.”

The 2022 season currently features a tier-like esports ecosystem, with a number of Challengers stages acting as qualifiers for Masters and Champions events.

Esports Insider says: As VALORANT esports continues its upward trajectory, Riot Games launching a new model for 2023 is its next step in ensuring the long-term success of the title. It will be interesting to see which teams join the publisher as partners. Moreover, there are still a lot of details to uncover. This certainly won’t be the last update regarding VALORANT’s monumental esports changes. 

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