VALORANT: Riot Games may bring 2023 VCT to Los Angeles
Since Riot released VALORANT at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, tournaments have taken place mainly online. Meanwhile, few competitive LAN events held in the past were affected by the pandemic. For example, some VALORANT players missed matches and had to play from their hotel rooms.
The Icelandic capital of Reykjavik hosted the first VCT LAN tournaments. The city was chosen because of its relatively isolated location. Players remained protected while playing in a LAN competition. After the situation improved, the international majors were held in Berlin and Istanbul, while most regional competitions were still online.
Many people said Los Angeles was promising as a host city for the VCT if Riot decided to proceed with the reported plan. Last year, the sunny city hosted several major esports events. Surrounding cities like Anaheim also hosted the Overwatch League Grand Finals in November 2022.
Los Angeles is also a likely destination for the VCT because Riot’s headquarters are located there. The developer has a studio in Los Angeles, where it often hosts regional events, like the VCT and the League Championship Series (LCS).
Riot also has other options to choose from in the U.S. as a host city for the major. Chicago is a notorious destination for esports tournaments, having held the LCS championships last year. Arlington, which has Esports Stadium, is also a popular host city for various esports events.
Although VALORANT is dominated by European teams, the game has begun developing a strong fanbase in America. There are teams coming not only from North America but also from the central and southern parts of the continent.
VALORANT’s popularity growth
VALORANT’s viewership has shown growth since Riot initiated its competitive events. Data from Esports Chart in 2022 showed that the game attracts a much larger number of viewers than other esports events.
The growth is not only visible in competitive VALORANT but also in the non-competing gaming community. On Twitch, the game became the third most-watched game last year, with a total of 1.16 billion hours watched. In 2021, the game ranked fifth with a total of 950 million hours watched.
Fans and analysts also noted that VALORANT had received more attention from Riot in the past two years, especially compared to the developer’s older titles, like League of Legends. Riot’s decision to move LCS’s schedule to weekdays and place VCT in LCS’s old timeslot also intensifies the rumor that the developer now favors VALORANT more.
VCT Americas League 2023
Last year, Riot announced that the VCT Americas League 2023 would kick off on March 26 and end on May 28. Ten participating teams from various regions in America will compete for the top three spots in the event. These three winners will proceed to the Masters.
Riot has announced six invited teams — FaZe Clan, M80, G2 Esports, The Guard, Shopify Rebellion and TSM. The remaining four — Oxygen Esports, Disguised, BreakThru and Dark Ratio — will join the league after passing the qualifier round.
Before the Americas League in March, these ten teams will head to San Paulo in February to participate in the VALORANT Americas Challengers League. In addition to the American region, Challengers events will also be held in EMEA and Pacific, each with ten participating teams.
Beginning this year, teams that pass the Challengers League will head to regional Challengers Ascension. The champion of Challengers Ascension will get promoted for two years into the international league. By implementing the new system, Riot expects to expand VCT and accommodate more teams.