Riot Games announced that two of its biggest esports events of the year will take place back-to-back this May in Reykjavík, Iceland. Additionally, as Riot Games continues to expand its esports footprint, the company has expanded its partnership with Verizon as the official 5G partner, supporting both LoL Esports Global Events and VALORANT Esports.
The League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), which was cancelled last year due to COVID-19, will kick off competition between the top 12 teams from the regional leagues on Thursday, May 6 and culminate with the final on Sunday, May 23.
The VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Masters Reykjavík, beginning the next day on Monday, May 24, will be the first VALORANT esports event to feature live international competition, bringing together the top 10 teams from around the world to fight for a spot at VALORANT Champions later this year. VCT Masters Reykjavík will conclude with a final scheduled to take place on May 30th.
Competition for both events will take place in the Laugardalshöll indoor sporting arena as Riot brings best-in-class esports competition from two titles to Iceland for the first time.
“We are thrilled to showcase high-level Riot esports competition to a country as stunning and unique as Iceland, underscoring that passion for our esports can be found in every corner of the globe,” said John Needham, Global Head of Esports for Riot Games. “Both MSI and VCT Masters will introduce us to breakout stars to watch this season, and also serve as the initial events for Verizon’s extended and much-appreciated commitment to our esports ecosystem.”
In addition to MSI and Masters 2, Verizon’s multi-year agreement as the Official 5G Partner also extends to the biggest global events of the LoL Esports and VALORANT competition calendar. This includes the League of Legends World Championship (“Worlds”), which makes its return to North America in 2022; LoL Esports All-Star Event; three VALORANT Champions Tour Masters events; and VALORANT Champions. The partnership also includes the VALORANT North America Challengers.
Verizon also is a key partner in VALORANT’s recently announced VCT Game Changers, a program that will host monthly tournaments to give female players more opportunities to compete at the semi-pro and grassroots level.
This partnership just serves as the latest iteration of Verizon’s consistent support of Riot’s esports business. Since 2020, Verizon has been the Official 5G Partner for the League Championship Series (LCS), providing support for LCS through original video content and in-broadcast sponsored segments. Their support extended to VALORANT First Strike: North America, the first official tournament for Riot’s premier tactical shooter, as well as The Wild Rift Invitational – the world’s first Wild Rift esports event featuring LCS players and celebrities.
“Expanding our partnership with Riot esports allows us to build on the success of the past year and continue expanding the opportunities to leverage the power of 5G Ultra Wideband for player and fan experiences across both LoL and Valorant,” said Yvette Martinez-Rea, Vice President, Sponsorships and Partnerships at Verizon. “We’re also very proud to put our support behind VCT Game Changers to provide more opportunities for female players at all levels.”
“We were thrilled to have Verizon on board as a partner for the LCS and Wild Rift last year, so to expand on that relationship across the biggest esports events in the world with both LoL and VCT is meaningful validation of what we are creating here at Riot esports,” said Naz Aletaha, Head of Global Esports Partnerships and Business Development at Riot Games. “Our aspiration to consistently deliver unforgettable experiences and initiatives for fans is a passion we’re proud to share with Verizon, and we look forward to leveraging their expertise and best-in-class technology across our sports.”
The Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) is a foundational battleground in the annual LoL Esports season, where rising stars and teams make a global name for themselves. Held between the first and second splits of the season, the best teams from each of the 12 regional leagues compete for the title. This year, a new format will open with three stages, beginning with Groups, in which all 12 teams split into three groups of four teams, each playing a Best of 1 double round robin. The top two teams per group will advance to the next stage, where the six remaining teams will play another Best of 1 double round robin. The top four teams will advance to a playoff bracket, and play in a Single Elimination, Best of 5 Semifinal followed by Finals.
VCT Masters Reykjavík will bring top VALORANT teams from around the globe together for the first time to determine who will stand as the best VALORANT team in the world heading into the second half of the season. Starting in April, thousands of teams will attempt to qualify for Masters Stage 2 through their regional Challengers events, with the 10 teams securing a spot in Reykjavík.
“VCT Masters Reykjavik is our next big step in further establishing VALORANT as the fastest-growing global esport,” said Whalen Rozelle, Riot Games’ Senior Director of Esports. “We have some of the most passionate fans around the world, and we’re committed to giving them a live event so that they can see how their favorite teams stack up internationally for the first time ever.”
Teams from both sports will quarantine upon arrival in Iceland. For the health and safety of the players, staff, and local residents, the events will be unable to accommodate a live audience, however all MSI and VCT Masters Stage 2 matches will be broadcast live globally across various digital platforms.