A new blog post Monday attributed to Riot Games Global Head of Valorant Esports Leo Faria details some changes coming to the Tier 2 division for Valorant, Valorant Challengers. Faria laid out some of the challenges Riot has noticed with Challengers such as less than stellar viewership numbers, and an off-season for players that the company considers too long and is not optimal for the path to pro league.
On viewership, Faria noted that:
“Now, even though viewership is not how we primarily measure success for Tier 2, it’s something that’s absolutely necessary for it to be viable. Leagues and tournaments need people watching them to be successful. A healthy league with good viewership allows tournament organizers to fund the league’s production, and enables teams to monetize and support pros with salaries, benefits, and infrastructure to practice and compete.”
He also noted the problems with the length of the season and its general structure:
“For the many teams that don’t qualify for Ascension tournaments, their season ends in early June. That means more than half of the year without an official tournament to compete in. I said before that I believe that a long offseason is good — it gives pros time to rest, teams time to experiment with new strategies and players, and fans the opportunity to miss the sport. But the current break is too long. We expect to have a good amount of 3rd party tournaments during the offseason, but we understand teams need a longer calendar to justify an entire operation.”
To address these concerns Faria said that in 2024, Valorant Challengers will see some important changes. For starters, instead of isolating the league to run only in January – June, now it will run year-round, “including in the back half of the year when the Tier 1 ecosystem is in the offseason.” Challengers Ascension will be moved to September following the conclusion of Champions to give it more of a spotlight.
Another big change is that Riot will “allow teams in the International Leagues to build an affiliate relationship with Challenger League teams, as well as create a new player loan system.”
Finally, Premier (the new competitive mode in Valorant that allows players to create teams and compete in weekly tournaments in-game) will be used to qualify teams to the Challenger Leagues. Faria believes that this will create “one clear path to pro that starts in-game.”
More details of all of these changes coming to Challengers can be found on the official Valorant blog.