In a blog post addressed to the VALORANT esports community as the 2023 season comes to an end, Leo Faria, Global Head of VALORANT Esports, has detailed what’s next for the VALORANT scene from both a business and competitive standpoint.
Faria highlighted that Riot Games distributed more than $33 million (~£26.30m) to teams from digital item revenue this year, with each team in its partner leagues receiving more than $1 million (~£0.8m) on average.
This figure includes the previously-disclosed $10m (~£8m) in revenue from the LOCK//IN bundle in March, and a slightly-increased $22m (~£17.54m) from the VALORANT Champions collection from VCT Champions 2023 in August.
The skin revenue sharing is part of VALORANT’s partner team programme, where Riot Games selected teams that received permanent slots in the league. Those teams also receive 50% of the revenue from the aforementioned skin bundles, as well as a league stipend and what Faria called ‘additional incentives’. He said these financial measures together would allow organisations to continue to invest in VALORANT esports.
Partner teams were not the only ones to benefit from the sales of the bundles. Faria revealed that partnered esports organisations distributed nearly $12m (~£9.57m) of the $33m skin bundle revenue to players and coaches, which worked out to an average share of 35%.
In addition to that, players also took over $3m (~£2.39m) of the $4.5m in prize pools distributed during the season — an average of 70% of prize pool money going to players.
Moreover, Faria revealed the publisher is looking to debut VCT team bundles next year. These will take the form of team-branded gun skins and goodies through which fans will be able to support their favourite teams.
The bundles are expected to launch in February and will be available for purchase throughout the year. Faria also clarified that all players in the International Leagues will get the bundle with the custom skin, including the ones promoted from Ascension.
2024 will also mark new changes to the competitive ecosystem. Earlier this month, Riot launched its fourth international league, VCT China, revealing the 10 partner teams participating in the competition.
In addition, Riot is looking to grant players in its women’s league Game Changers special rules and policies to incentivise teams to pick them up and create mixed-gender rosters. Challengers leagues are also getting some attention: Riot will also be implementing a new calendar for 2024 to have a more spread-out schedule.
The 2024 season will feature kickoff tournaments for the four international leagues, giving teams a chance to qualify for Masters Madrid, which will see the eight best teams clash at the Madrid Arena in March. After Madrid, Riot will host the second Masters event of the season in Shanghai, China.
In the letter, Faria also hinted at major calendar changes for the VCT leagues going into 2025. While no details are confirmed right now, Riot is planning to stretch the schedule for the top teams by starting the season earlier and concluding it later, giving teams longer breaks in between stages and tournaments.