ESPN and Valorant – 2 big names

Reasons to watch the ESPN Valorant Invitational Tournament

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ESPN Valorant Invitational

ESPN Valorant Invitational. (Image Credit: ESPN)

Last week, Riot Games announced that their esports vision for VALORANT would leave the competitive scene’s development in the community’s hands. That doesn’t mean it won’t lean on some of the biggest names in sports to promote the new game. Starting March 20 at 3:30P M Eastern Standard Time, ESPN will broadcast the VALORANT Invitational tournament on its Twitch channel.

This was a very last-second announcement by both ESPN and Riot but there are a lot of reasons to tune in. Here’s just a few of them to get you started.

Several pro players and developers will be competing

ESPN has lined up a roster of star players from other game scenes to boost interest in their tournament. Some of the names you can expect to see compete include Rainbow Six: Siege champ Troy “Canadian” Jaroslawski, Fortnite star and 2019 World Cup runner-up Harrison “Psalm” Chang, and CS:GO champ Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham. Some of Riot’s own developers will be playing as well. Competing teams will be grouped by which game they hail from, so this will definitely be a tournament for bragging rights.

Group A

  • Team Mirage, made up of Counter-Strike players
  • Team Heroes, made up of Overwatch players
  • Team Six, made up of Rainbow Six Siege players
  • Team Rift, made up of League of Legends players

Group B

  • Team Dev, made up of the game's developers
  • Team Canyon, made up of Apex Legends players
  • Team Llama, made up of Fortnite players
  • Team Battlegrounds, made up of PUBG players

Here are the specific players involved, as well as the names of their teams (you can guess which game they come from just by the team names and player handles!):

Team Mirage: Brax, Ska, AZK, n0thing, Hiko, Skadoodle

Team Battlegrounds: Vegas, Venerated, Valliate, YaBoiDre, Sharky, 7Teen

Team Llama: Psalm, thwifo, joseph, highsky, Xxi

Team Six: Canadian, Rampy, Thinkingnade, Nvk, Necrox

Team Canyon: Aceu, Dizzy, Mendo, Kellar, Syncdez

Team Rift: Dyrus, Xmithie, Siphtur, Doublelift, Imaqtpie

High-level production for a brand new title

VALORANT has been in closed beta for about a week, making this a quick start into high-level production for a brand new game.

ESPN (and Riot in turn) will doubtlessly want to provide an experience for viewers that will keep them coming back, so expect a great package including pre-show and recap content.

The full schedule (all times ET)

Monday, April 20 (Group A, round-robin)

3:30 p.m.: ESPN Esports VALORANT Invitational preshow

4:10 p.m.: Team Mirage vs. Team Six

5:30 p.m.: Team Rift vs. Team Heroes

6:55 p.m.: Team Mirage vs. Team Heroes

8:15 p.m.: Team Rift vs. Team Mirage

9:35 p.m.: Team Six vs. Team Rift

10:50 p.m.: Team Six vs. Team Heroes

Tuesday, April 21 (Group B, round-robin)

3:30 p.m.: ESPN Esports VALORANT Invitational preshow

4:10 p.m.: Team Dev vs. Team Canyon

5:30 p.m.: Team Llama vs. Team Battlegrounds

6:55 p.m.: Team Dev vs. Team Llama

8:15 p.m.: Team Dev vs. Team Battlegrounds

9:35 p.m.: Team Battlegrounds vs. Team Canyon

10:50 p.m.: Team Llama vs. Team Canyon

Wednesday, April 22 (semifinals and finals)

3:30 p.m.: ESPN Esports VALORANT Invitational preshow

4:10 p.m.: Semifinals, first matchup

5:30 p.m.: Semifinals, second matchup

6:55 p.m.: Finals, Game 1

8:15 p.m.: Finals, Game 2

9:35 p.m.: Finals, Game 3 (if needed)

Sponsors are already lining up

HyperX is sponsoring this event, and Greenlit Content, owned by ReKTGlobal, Inc., is producing it in conjunction with ESPN.

This is already showing that the stakes are high to get a piece of the VALORANT promotional action, at least among endemic sponsors. And there’s no doubt going to be plenty of eyes on the show, thinking of ways to forge future partnerships.

It may be proof that VALORANT is here to stay

The event hasn't even started and everyone's talking about it. The esports community has already spent a week debating if VALORANT is too hard for Overwatch players, or too easy for CS:GO players. Either way, if this tournament is a success, it will be definitive proof that VALORANT is here to stay.

You can get the entire lineup of the event straight from ESPN or check out more on the latest updates on Valorant.

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