Shopify Rebellion Denied 2023 VCT Partnership, Slams Riot Games' 'Popularity Contest'

"Esports can be better, and we take pride in doing things right and putting people first."
"Esports can be better, and we take pride in doing things right and putting people first." / Image courtesy of Shopify Rebellion

Shopify Rebellions has voiced its displeasure with Riot Games' 2023 Valorant esports partnership program after being informed it would not be moving forward in the process.

The American organization posted its statement to Twitter on Friday, less than a month removed from its signing of the ex-Luminosity Gaming Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) roster.

"We're obviously disappointed," the Shopify Rebellion statement reads. "A popularity contest for a woefully small number of team slots in a partnered league was always going to leave too many on the outside looking in. Moving forward, our hope is that Riot will find meaningful ways to support the broader ecosystem — too many incredible players, creators and talent that have invested their lives in making Valorant a success deserve it."

The Toronto-based org was established in February 2021, a time in which it announced its Starcraft 2 team before branching out into Rocket League and Halo. It entered the Valorant esports scene in June 2021 with a women’s roster that continues to be widely considered one of the best in North America.

With its newly acquired VCT roster getting ready to compete in the NA Last Chance Qualifier next month, Shopify Rebellion also reaffirmed its desire to support all of its players in the immediate future.

"We'll continue to support all our teams and players in the same way we always have," the Shopify Rebellion statement reads. "Our priority is and has always been making sure Rebellion players have everything they need in the pursuit of winning. Esports can be better, and we take pride in doing things right and putting people first."

In April 2022, Riot announced its plans to turn Valorant into a "multigenerational sport in 2023 and beyond." The most drastic proposed change is that after the conclusion of the 2022 VCT circuit, Riot plans to introduce three new premier-level, international leagues that will include teams from multiple regions based on geographical proximity.

With over 15 big-name esports organizations and a fledgling Valorant pro scene dedicated to the title in North America at the moment, there is concern within the community as to how franchising would cut the cake in an Americas league reportedly sharing 10 spots with Latin America and Brazil.

Sentinels, Cloud9, 100 Thieves, Version1, TSM, T1, CLG, The Guard, OpTic Gaming, XSET and G2 Esports are reportedly some of the orgs who have applied for the Americas league.

According to Dot Esports, over 150 organizations have already submitted proposals globally to Riot in recent weeks and will be notified of their statuses by September.

For more on Valorant, feel free to check out our 2022 VCT coverage: