Riot Games has revealed the names of the 30 teams with which it has partnered for the international leagues in EMEA, Americas and Pacific.
Days of fervent speculation have finally come to an end after Riot Games lifted the lid on the names of the teams that will be taking part in its new international leagues, which will be the cornerstone of the game’s esports circuit moving forward.
There will be international leagues in three regions (Americas, EMEA and Pacific), each with 10 partnered teams.
According to Riot, the selection process was “incredibly competitive” and included three stages: a written application, in-depth interviews, and financial reviews. When choosing the right partners, the developer looked for organizations that ticked the following boxes:
- “Organizations who share our values of always putting fans first, celebrate our diverse community, and are committed to supporting pros.
- “Organizations who have created a strong connection with fans through engaging content, a compelling brand, and an exciting roster.
- “Organizations who build for the long-term, with a focus on sustainability.”
Riot stressed that, while they “respect and celebrate past competitive performance”, those were not key factors in their decision as they focused on picking partners that showed the “ability to create the most compelling VCT for fans in the future”.
This is believed to be the reason why organizations like OpTic Gaming, G2 Esports and FunPlus Phoenix did not make the cut despite the success of their rosters.
The regional leagues will be held in a LAN environment in Los Angeles, Berlin and Seoul, with two splits held per year. However, during the first year of this new circuit, the Kickoff tournament in São Paulo, Brazil, will replace the first split, with the winner crowned in early March. The second split will begin in late March or early April.
Starting in 2024, these leagues will expand by one team every year via the Ascension tournaments until hitting a cap of 14 teams in 2027.
Below you can find all the details about the partner teams in each of the three regions.
The Americas league features a stacked group of names from North America, Brazil, and Latin America. The chosen teams include fan favorites Sentinels and Valorant Champions 2022 winners LOUD.
The biggest surprise comes in the omission of OpTic Gaming, who had one of the strongest teams of the 2022 Valorant Champions circuit. It remains to be seen whether the roster will be sold to another organization in its entire form or if the players will be picked by different teams.
According to 1pv.fr reporter Guillaume ‘neL’ Canelo, the recent controversy involving G2 Esports CEO Carlos Rodríguez and Andrew Tate ended up costing the esports organization a spot in the Americas league.
The team list for the Americas league is the following:
- KRU Esports
- 100 Thieves
- Evil Geniuses
The EMEA league includes some of the region’s best-performing organizations in Valorant, including Fnatic and Team Liquid, but also some new faces at the highest level of the game, like KOI and Karmine Corp.
KOI are one of the three Spanish organizations joining the league, along with Team Heretics and Giants Gaming. Founded by popular streamer Ibai Llanos and FC Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué, KOI are reportedly joining the LEC through a deal with Rogue worth $20 million.
Heretics were recently announced as the LEC’s newest team after they acquired Misfits’ spot in a deal reportedly worth upwards of $30 million.
According to Riot Games, the EMEA organizations “represent the best-in-class in fan engagement, competitive operations, and business acumen.”
The organizations that are joining the EMEA league are:
- Karmine Corp
- Team Liquid
- Team Heretics
- BBL Esports
- Giants Gaming
- FUT Esports
The Pacific league features an interesting mixture of organizations, “carefully chosen to ensure that the vibrant mosaic of countries and regions within the Asia-Pacific was well-represented”.
Gen.G and T1 will be moving their Valorant operations away from North America to participate in the league, where they will be joining some teams that have already made their mark on international Valorant, such as Paper Rex, DRX and ZETA Division.
The list of teams joining the Pacific league is the following:
- ZETA DIVISION
- DetonatioN Gaming
- Talon Esports
- Team Secret
- Paper Rex
- Rex Regum Qeon
- Global Esports