Riot Games is bringing a partnership system to VALORANT next year, the company announced today.
The game’s professional scene will shift from a pseudo-open circuit, which Riot has run since the introduction of the VALORANT Champions Tour in 2021. The new VALORANT circuit will begin at the start of 2023.
The international model
The model will introduce a stipend system, contrary to the typical buy-in system seen in the franchised Overwatch League and League Championship Series, in which Riot will provide select teams with financial support to enter a partnership with the company. These teams will then compete in the new respective international LAN tournaments against teams from different regions.
Riot will host three international leagues across Asia, Europe, and the Americas where teams will compete against each other to earn a spot at global events such as Masters and Champions. The leagues will be held on LAN with live audiences if health and safety conditions are met.
The first league will include teams from North America, Latin America, and Brazil. The second will feature squads from Europe, Russia, Turkey, and MENA. The final league will include teams from Southeast Asia, Korea, and Oceania.
Select teams that partner with Riot for the international leagues will also be able to collaborate on esports-branded content exclusively in VALORANT.
Teams will be selected by Riot via an application process that will begin this year. Selection will be based on “a track record of building great esports experiences, developing players, and can meaningfully contribute to the long-term growth of VALORANT esports,” Riot said.
Riot did not say whether these leagues will have a relegation format.
Domestic leagues and tournament mode
While select teams will compete in the international leagues, Riot will continue to host domestic competitions, similar to the VALORANT Regional Leagues that were introduced earlier this year across European regions.
These leagues will be integrated alongside a new in-game tournament mode, where players can form teams to qualify for the domestic leagues.
Each VALORANT player will have access to the tournament mode from the client and it will act as a supplement to the existing leaderboard.
Third-party tournaments and Game Changers
Since the main VALORANT circuit will run from the start of the year until Champions, which will likely conclude around the end of September, there will be several months for teams to rebuild their rosters in a dedicated offseason.
This window will be open to third-party tournaments, similar to the smaller open tournaments seen predominantly in North America.
Similar to this year, the dedicated female VALORANT league Game Changers will also receive a Championship event next year.
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