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Published: December 21, 2023

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • Franchising was introduced to VALORANT in 2022
  • It lets big organizations become official partners of Riot Games
  • However, this might decentivize smaller organizations to invest more

As more organizations are leaving VALORANT’s tier-two scene, Michael “dapr” Gulino claimed this is due to the franchising Riot implemented last year.

Dapr Criticizes Franchising

Franchising is often a big part of many major esports and VALORANT is no exception. It was introduced back in 20222 and since then it has been a topic of hot debate amongst both professionals and fans. One of the problems that seem to stem from the introduction of franchising, however, seems to be the downfall of the tier two scene. Many promising rosters are being disbanded while some organizations are leaving tier two altogether.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the VALORANT community and some pros have expressed their feeling on the worrying trend. Among them is Oxygen Esports’ Michael “dapr” Gulino who recently said that it was obvious that this would happen ever since the partnered leagues were announced.

The 24-year-old player compared what is currently happening with competitive VALORANT to what had already happened to the Counter-Strike scene. He left the latter sport because it also had a “dying” tier 2 scene only to see the same thing happening to VALORANT three years later.

According to the player, this is happening because of Riot Games’ decision to create partnerships with various large organizations last year. Dapr thinks this put an “artificial line” in the scene as many smaller but promising teams could not afford to exist as they did not have the support that big organizations receive from their partnership with Riot.

Following the end of the 2023 VCT, many tier-two teams disbanded their professional rosters. Some of the most recent ones include OR Esports, who have not only parted ways with their players but also decided to miss out on the 2024 season. “We want to express our gratitude to our players for their time with us and wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavors,” the organization wrote.

It should be noted that Riot is actually putting effort into maintaining the tier-two scene. There’s a long-running Challengers season, leading to the prestigious regional Ascension tournament, the winners of which are rewarded with the chance to join the partnered leagues. Thanks to several changes, the 2024 season will, in fact, be tied more closely to the partnered leagues, and it’s hoped this would give tier-two teams more initiative.

Despite that, considering the fact many orgs are leaving the scene, Riot’s new policies might not be working as planned. Ultimately, time will tell what the future holds for tier-two VALORANT.

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