Riot Games today announced the VALORANT Champions Tour, a season-long competition tour set to take place throughout 2021 for its newly released competitive 5v5 character-based tactical shooter – VALORANT. The global tour will feature competitions in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, and will crown a single global Champion at the end of the year.
“The Champions Tour is our next step to grow VALORANT into a global esport worthy of the passion of our fans,” said Whalen Rozelle, Senior Director of Esports at Riot Games. “We’ve spent a couple of years now talking to players, teams, fans, prospective partners, and other stakeholders, and we’re extremely excited to launch our first official season. Our focus will be on elevating and showcasing the creative and talented players who are shaping this game across the globe. Fans and players both wanted high stakes competition, and that’s what the VALORANT Champions Tour is designed to do.”
The VALORANT Champions Tour will feature three levels of competition: Challengers, Masters, and Champions. Teams begin their journey by first playing in regional Challenger events, before advancing to international Masters events. At the three Masters events set to take place in 2021, top performing teams will accumulate points which will count towards qualification for the Champions event. This final stage will feature the top sixteen teams in the world and will crown a single global champion.
The initial founding partners committing to the VALORANT Champions Tour and the First Strike tournament will be Red Bull and Secretlab. Both have been long-time supporters of esports operated by Riot Games and will play a vital role in growing VALORANT from its foundational years. Additionally Red Bull has a storied history of developing unique community focused tournaments to elevate esports players like Red Bull Solo Q. More partners for the VALORANT Champions Tour will be announced throughout 2021.
After a record breaking closed beta that saw more than 1.7 million peak concurrent viewers on Twitch, VALORANT quickly established itself as the fastest growing esport of 2020. In June, Riot Games partnered with more than 20 premier event organizers to create the VALORANT Ignition Series, delivering numerous tentpole competitions that attracted the attention of millions of fans.
In September, following the success of the Ignition Series, Riot Games announced its first official tournament for VALORANT, First Strike. First Strike featured a series of merit-based qualifiers across North America, Europe, CIS, Turkey, Asia, Oceania, Brazil, and the Middle East to identify the best teams in each respective region. The event is set to conclude December 3-6, with live broadcasts taking place on Twitch.tv and other platforms. The winning teams will earn the right to call themselves the first official regional VALORANT champions.
The VALORANT Champions tour will continue to build on the momentum of VALORANT by leveraging a decade of Riot Games’ industry-leading experience producing best-in-class esports events and broadcasts. Riot Games is also the largest global esports producer in the world, running and broadcasting weekly professional league competitions in multiple global regions, as well as winning multiple Emmys for the League of Legends World Championship, the world’s most viewed esports event.