Valorant has been on a constant upward trajectory since the day the game was released in June of 2020. In just two years, Valorant outpaced all the competition and became the most popular first-person shooter game in the world.
Following the success of their first Valorant Champions Tour season in 2021, Riot Games set out to improve the Valorant esports even further and announced the new Valorant esports format for 2023.
One of the main highlights of this new plan was the Valorant team partnership program, similar to the one introduced in League of Legends back in 2017. Since the announcement, over 150 organisations have applied for the partnership globally.
Despite the large number of applications, only a small number of organisations will actually land the deal and enjoy the lucrative partnership with Riot Games.
What Is The Partnership About?
Valorant’s team partnership model aims to create a formal partnership between Riot Games and a small number of esports teams competing in the Valorant international leagues. The deal’s aim is to contribute to the long-term growth of Valorant esports ecosystem, which is why Riot Games will be looking for esports organisations with great track records.
The teams that end up in the program will enjoy some great benefits, some of which include larger player salaries, better support systems, the ability to plan into the future and more. Riot Games and these teams will collaborate together and create exciting esports events, which will all positively contribute towards the development of the Valorant esports scene.
With such amazing perks and the added safety net provided by Riot, it’s no wonder to hear that over 150 organisations applied for this program.
No Buy-In Fee
One other reason why so many esports organisations applied for the Valorant partnership is due to the fact that there will be no buy-in fee this time. When Riot Games initially announced this type of partnership program in League of Legends, they had a $10 million buy-in fee, which obviously automatically excluded any smaller esports teams that were looking for an opportunity to compete.
Additionally, the organisations can now apply for multiple Valorant regions, which can potentially increase their odds of landing the partnership. According to some reports, G2 Esports applied for both European and the North American league, which could mean the organisation would be changing regions if their application for NA were to be accepted by Riot Games.
They’re probably not the only ones who have applied for both regions, and we might see some massive shifts in the regions by the time Riot Games announce all the partnered teams and the leagues they’ll be competing in.
Three Leagues in 2023
Riot Games have revealed that there will be a total of three partnered leagues. These leagues, much like the League of Legends ones, will have up to ten teams each.
These three leagues will be the highlights of Valorant esports in 2023, boasting massive LAN events with a live audience and high prize pools. It’s most likely that these leagues will also be the main pathways for VCT Masters and VCT Champions.
All in all, this Valorant partnership will be a big deal. The stipends provided by Riot will be enough of an incentive for many teams to compete and work hard. Those that manage to land the partnership will enjoy the best possible benefits in Valorant esports. On the other hand, plenty of other organisations will miss out on these perks and might end up being totally discouraged.
Luckily, there will be plenty of other ways for teams to compete in Valorant Champions Tour, and other pathways through which teams can reach the top and fight at the highest levels.