The VALORANT competitive landscape is changing and for the better. Riot Games announces a groundbreaking change to the Valorant Championship Tour (VCT) model by establishing three international leagues, week-to-week in-person competition, a new in-game ranked mode, and an annual stipend for partnered teams.

The VALORANT competitive landscape is changing and for the better. Riot Games announces a groundbreaking change to the Valorant Championship Tour (VCT) model by establishing three international leagues, week-to-week in-person competition, a new in-game ranked mode and an annual stipend for partnered teams who undergo an evaluation process.

Valorant esports in 2023
The Valorant esports structure for 2023. Image Credit: Riot Games.

We are setting up our long-term partners for success by forgoing any entry or participation fees for selected organizations. Our aim is to free our partners to invest their resources in supporting their pros and growing their fanbases through creating incredible content for fans

Whalen Rozelle, Head of Esports Operation

In a statement released from Whalen Rozelle, Head of Esports Operations, he spoke on the new direction for the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT).

“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. We are setting up our long-term partners for success by forgoing any entry or participation fees for selected organizations. Our aim is to free our partners to invest their resources in supporting their pros and growing their fanbases through creating incredible content for fans.” 

What’s new in Valorant esports in 2023?

  • Global events
  • Three new Premier level leagues, qualifiers for global events
  • Expansion to current Challengers and Game Changers Leagues (More countries and regions)
  • A new in-game competitive mode

International and domestic leagues in the VCT

Three newly established VCT international leagues will be introduced in 2023, composed of teams from the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Each individual league will provide week-over-week competition in a live studio setting, making for the first in-person LAN events in the rapidly growing VALORANT scene.

From there, the best teams from each region will qualify for two VCT International Masters events. The season will end identical to the last two years with the world’s best competing for a title at VALORANT Champions. And for the first time ever, it will be seen in front of a studio audience. It’s a departure from the Challengers structure of 2022, but keeps much of the foundation intact in terms of qualifying events.

On top of an International league, Riot is committing to developing talent domestically. With the announcement of a new in-game mode within the VALORANT client, the new mode forms a direct path from ranked play to the professional level. It will make the jump from ranked to the pros more accessible.

VALORANT’s new competitive ranking system

For instance, Riot has been innovating the esports space with League of Legends since the announcement of the League Championship Series (LCS) in 2012 and now with VALORANT. The launch of a brand new in-game competitive mode will be accessible to every player on the platform. It will be a different type of leaderboard than the current in-game ranked system.

Moreover, the goal is to identify the best international talent and seamlessly integrate players into the esports ecosystem. This new mode will supplement the current leaderboards and will create a clear path for talented players. It will allow armature players to challenge the world’s best in a much more streamlined manner. It provides more incentive for newer players to reach for their goals and will help build a stronger foundation to facilitate growth.

In terms of how the new mode works, the highest ranked teams in the in-game client will have the opportunity to challenge the region’s best teams. The trendsetting move shows Riot is invested in building the esports side of VALORANT. There’s a clear commitment to making esports a viable career path for interested players with the necessary skill.

“We’ll use everything we learned from the past 10 years with LoL Esports to build an ecosystem that will supercharge VALORANT into the next great multigenerational esport.”

John Needham, President of Esports at Riot Games

“Together, all these elements will contribute to a competitive ecosystem that will position VALORANT for its next stage of growth,” said John Needham, President of Esports at Riot Games. “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. We’ll use everything we learned from the past 10 years with LoL Esports to build an ecosystem that will supercharge VALORANT into the next great multigenerational esport.”

Setting up long-term partnerships with prospective teams

Looking ahead in 2022, Riot will be conducting a selective process to identify the best teams to partner with long-term. Riot will be forgoing any entry or participation fees for selected organizations, setting up long-term partners for success. Furthermore, teams who meet this selective criteria will receive an annual stipend as well as exclusive promotional opportunities.   

The VCT Masters Reykjavik Stage
REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – APRIL 24: A view of the player’s stage at the VALORANT Masters Finals on April 24, 2022 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

In a similar move to Riot committing to a franchising model with the LCS in 2017, they’re looking to promote partnered teams and create a foundation of recognizable organizations. The permanent partner program has ballooned the value of LCS slots. It’s also provided professional players a livable wage to make their esports dreams a reality. The revenue sharing model has worked wonders in the LCS and it looks as if Riot is attempting to implement that same model in VALORANT.

It’s an opportunity for organizations to come together with the developer and not only build their brand but work towards a shared goal. It will provide financial backing for partnered teams and elevate regions that don’t have the budget a number of the larger regions pay to their players. 

However, changes won’t be implemented until the end of this season, but the screening process will begin in 2022. Partnering with Riot opens up many potential avenues for growth and will allow teams to reinvest into their players and fanbase. It’s another positive step towards building the VCT fanbase organically to be long-lasting.

Stay tuned to esports.gg for the latest Valorant news and updates.

Blake Van Poucke -

Blake Van Poucke

| Twitter: @TokyoDown

Blake Van Poucke is a Valorant writer at esports.gg. He found esports through the early days of MLG and the Super Smash Bros Melee scene. He's been competing and writing about esports dating back to 2008. He has written for several publications and wishes to return to in-person esports events in 2022