Valorant

Valorant Esports 2023 Partnership Tracker

For 2023, Riot Games will select partner teams to participate in its three international Valorant esports leagues.
For 2023, Riot Games will select partner teams to participate in its three international Valorant esports leagues. / Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

We've put together a tracker of all the news regarding Riot Games' partnership process for Valorant esports in 2023.

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 brand-new international leagues that will feature "premier-level week-over-week competition" between select teams that are "long-term partners" and "fully invested in creating the best fan experience possible."

Health and safety permitting, the international leagues would feature matches played on LAN and in studios with audiences to determine which teams qualify for premier-level global tournaments such as Masters and Champions.

To sweeten the pot for organizations interested in applying for a partnership, Riot said it will forgo any participation/franchising fees and instead provide financial stipends to the selected teams in return for their investment.

Riot's ideal partner orgs are said to be those that have a "track record of building great esports experiences, developing players and can meaningfully contribute to the long-term growth of Valorant esports."

Per Dot Esports, Riot will decide and inform the partnered teams around Valorant Champions in September.

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 8-12 spots with Latin America and Brazil.

Here is a list of every announcement and report regarding the process so far:

Valorant Esports 2023 Partnership Tracker

Aug. 12, 2022

  • Dot Esports' George Geddes reports the three international leagues will begin competition in mid-February 2023 and conclude in September 2023. There will be a total of 30 partnered teams, with 10 teams in each of the three leagues. Partnered teams will have to re-locate to compete in front of crowds. The Asia-Pacific league will be held in Seoul, the European league will likely be held in Berlin and the Americas league will be held in Los Angeles. Partnered teams will not have to change their names (e.g. London Spitfire). The partnered teams will be given stipends of at least $600,000. Several organizations in multiple regions have completed their final interviews with Riot Games regarding the partnership program next year. Riot is planning to release team skins in-game. Riot has been stringent on the deliverables of each organization, especially with finances and content output. Teams will be notified whether they have secured a place in the international leagues by mid-September. In North America, Cloud9, TSM, Sentinels, OpTic Gaming, 100 Thieves, Evil Geniuses, NRG, XSET, The Guard and Version1 have made it through to the final round. The Americas league could have two Brazilian teams and one Latin American team.

July 28, 2022

  • Noah "jcStani" Smith announces they are a restricted free agent. Gen.G will start fresh if it ends up acquiring a partnership. According to Dot Esports' Scott Robertson, there are reportedly "six to eight" spots reserved specifically for NA teams in Riot’s 2023 Americas league.
  • Dot Esports' George Geddes reports Ghost Gaming was informed by Riot that it has not been selected to proceed in the process. "Riot’s partnership process has proven to be incredibly stringent, as even some of the top teams in the world will eventually be denied a place in the league."

July 23, 2022

  • Dot Esports' George Geddes reports Cloud9 has informed its Valorant Academy roster that it will be released because of financial uncertainty regarding franchising.

July 22, 2022

  • Dot Esports' George Geddes reports over 150 organizations have submitted proposals globally to Riot in recent weeks and will be notified of their statuses in September.
  • Complexity announces the org will "partially" exit the professional Valorant scene after Riot informed the org it would not be moving forward in the process. Although it will continue to support its women’s Complexity.GX3 roster as it competes in VCT Game Changers, the org's men's roster has been released to free agency.
  • Built by Gamers CEO Todd Searle announces Riot has informed the organization it would not be moving forward in the process. BBG will be getting more information soon from Riot about what the NA Domestic League will look like, then decide if it’s still viable to support a team in that way. Searle reaffirmed that he wants BBG to remain in the scene "in some way."
  • DarkZero announces it will exit the professional Valorant scene in what it hopes is a "temporary departure." Its roster has been released to free agency.

July 21, 2022

  • Dot Esports' George Geddes reports Sentinels, XSET and Gen.G were among the teams that were informed by Riot that they have made it through to the penultimate step in the process for the Americas league. Gen.G has allowed its players to explore their options, however, as the organization cites uncertainty surrounding the process. Knights did not make it to the next round. The Knights’ main roster has been placed on the market and its Academy team is set to be promoted.

July 20, 2022

  • Dot Esports' George Geddes reports a minimum of a dozen teams such as The Guard, TSM, Cloud9, NRG and Version1 have been informed by Riot that they have made it through to the penultimate step in the process for the Americas league. T1 is adamant it will remain in North America. In Korea, DRX is likely through to the next round.
  • Akrew CEO Daniel Luu announces the org will "temporarily" exit the professional Valorant scene after Riot informed the org it would not be moving forward in the process. Its roster has been released to free agency.
  • Chad "Oderus" Miller announces they are a free agent and NYFU has disbanded because of NYXL exiting Valorant. No official announcement has been made on the side of NYXL.

July 15, 2022

  • Shopify Rebellion announces Riot has informed the org it would not be moving forward in the process. With its newly acquired VCT roster getting ready to compete in the NA Last Chance Qualifier, Shopify Rebellion reaffirmed its desire to support all of its players in the immediate future. More information about the org's future in Valorant is said to be coming later this summer.
  • SoaR Gaming owner Michael "Mak" Maknojia announces the org will "temporarily" exit the professional Valorant scene. Its roster has been released to free agency.
  • Global Esports co-owner Rushindra Sinha announces the org has been informed by Riot that they have made it through to the penultimate step in the process for the APAC league.

June 27, 2022

  • Shopify Rebellion announces it has signed the ex-Luminosity Gaming Valorant roster.
  • OpTic Gaming co-owner Mike "hastr0" Rufail mentions on the The Eavesdrop Podcast that the org is getting ready to submit its application for a Riot partnership in Valorant.

June 22, 2022

  • T1 announces it has applied for a Riot partnership in Valorant for the Americas league.

June 17, 2022

  • TSM VP of Esports Dominic Kallas announces the org has applied for a Riot partnership in Valorant for the Americas league (the tweet has since been deleted).
  • Shopify Rebellion program development lead Dario Wünsch announces the org has applied for a Riot partnership in Valorant for the Americas league.
  • The Guard announces it has applied for a Riot partnership in Valorant for the Americas league.
  • Sentinels VP of marketing and creative lead Riley Jamison announces the org has applied for a Riot partnership in Valorant for the Americas league.
  • Complexity CEO Jason Lake announces the org has applied for a Riot partnership in Valorant for the Americas league.
  • Evil Geniuses general manager Andrew Barton announces the org has applied for a Riot partnership in Valorant for the Americas league.
  • Dot Esports' George Geddes reports CLG has applied for a Riot partnership in Valorant for the Americas league and will attempt to field a male Valorant team in the next few months.
  • 1pv's neLendirekt reports G2 Esports has applied for a Riot partnership in Valorant for the Americas league, as well as applied for the European league as a backup option.

June 13, 2022

  • Dot Esports' George Geddes reports organizations across all of the major regions in Valorant are set to submit their Riot partnership applications later in the week. The Americas league will likely take place in the U.S., meaning Brazilian and Latin American teams would have to relocate to compete.

June 2, 2022

  • Luminosity Gaming announces it will exit the professional Valorant scene for the "foreseeable future." Its roster will still play under the org’s banner throughout the remainder of VCT Stage 2: Challengers NA, but LG will try to find it a new home.

May 26, 2022

  • Dot Esports' George Geddes reports Riot hosted a meeting on May 23 where team owners and managers could ask questions to the developers regarding the partnership system. The leagues will each have around eight to 10 teams that will be directly invited next year, with 12 teams being the maximum if there was a decision to increase the number of slots.

May 15, 2022

  • TSM announces it is applying for a Riot partnership in Valorant for the Americas league.

May 6, 2022

  • Dot Esports' George Geddes reports Riot has reached out to several tier-one esports organizations regarding the formal application process for the planned international league system. Several major organizations in North America have started to submit an expression of interest to Riot to partake in the process. The application process will begin in May and continue through June.

April 28, 2022

  • Riot announces its plans to introduce three brand-new international leagues that will feature "premier-level week-over-week competition" between select teams that are "long-term partners" and "fully invested in creating the best fan experience possible."

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