Valorant Partnership System to shake up esports in 2023

The early few years of Valorant’s esports competition have been a pretty big success for the game. The title has grown to be one of the major FPS games in esports, but things are about to change.

Valorant is getting a pretty big reorganization in it’s esports format soon. Riot Games detailed their plans to seriously mix up the Valorant competitive scene, switching over to a Valorant partnership system, a new way of organizing esports that is coming in 20223.

Valorant Esports 2023

© Riot Games

Valorant Partnership System and Circuit

At the moment, Valorant has been operating with a kind of open circuit format. It’s been this way since the inaugural Valorant Champions Tour in 2021. The format will be switching around quite a bit in 2023 when the game switches over to a new Valorant partnership system. The new model will move to a stipend system for teams. This is where Riot will select specific esports organizations and give them financial support in a partnership with the teams. This is different from the standard model you see in games like Overwatch where teams ‘buy in’ to the league.

The new Valorant partnership system is going to be the opportunity for teams to collaborate with Riot directly on esports content for Valorant. It isn’t entirely clear what this content is going to be just yet, but it seems like Riot will be taking an active role. The teams for these partnerships will be selected by Riot from those with “a track record of building great esports experiences, developing players, and meaningfully contributing to the long-term growth of Valorant esports”.

This is slightly vague and we probably won’t know the full criteria for decisions, however we can guesstimate the selected teams are franchised in League of Legends as well.

Weekly LAN Play

The select teams will be competing in brand new set of international LAN tournaments. There will be three main international leagues which will see players compete to earn their places in the global events, like Masters and Champions.

This is how the overarching regions break down for the leagues:

  1. North America, Latin America and Brazil
  2. Europe, Russia, Turkey and MENA
  3. Southeast Asia, Korea, Oceania

These sets of regions will each be grouped together in pan-regional leagues playing weekly matches in a league format. The teams here are going to be competing in a LAN, with live audiences, provided that health and safety concerns allow for that. It isn’t clear if the Leagues will have a relegation system yet, but we’ll likely find out more details about the exact format as the leagues gets closer to launch.

Regional Tournaments in Valorant Partnership System

The international leagues run by Riot will be the higher end of the competitive spectrum, but the lower events aren’t going away either. Riot will be continuing to host National and Regional competitions and ERLs. These leagues will be run similarly to the LoL and Valorant leagues that have already been running in Europe.

These new tournaments will be running as part of a new in-game tournament mode. Here players can form their own teams and compete in various regional competitions. All players will be free to access this mod in the game. Game Changers and 3rd party events are not going away either, although the path-to-pro from these events is unclear.

The main Valorant circuit after the changes will be running from the beginning of 2023, concluding with Champions. It will take the majority of the year to run through, however, the fall and winter will be fairly open. This is where all the Game Changers, ERLs and 3rd party tournaments will likely take place.