Riot’s global VALORANT esports lead faces backlash after unfortunate joke on social media

Riot Games announced a host of different activities centered around the game VALORANT to fill the gap between the 2023 and 2024 seasons on Saturday, Aug. 12. However, the EMEA community seems to be dissatisfied with the event lineup.

Indeed, a wave of criticism targeted Leo Faria, the global head of VALORANT esports, after he replied with a light-hearted comment to a Reddit post pointing out the scarcity of significant events in Europe.

When Faria announced the EMEA OFF//SEASON schedule, Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks, a player from NRG Esports questioned the plans for any European events. Faria’s response to this was a casual remark that EMEA will “apparently be spending the offseason polishing their trophies.” His remark didn’t sit well with fans and players in the region, prompting a quick backlash.

Related: Riot arranges over 40 VALORANT tournaments as OFF//SEASON looms

Adam “ec1s” Eccles, the in-game leader of Maryville Esports, raised a concern stating that majority of these nine planned events are region-locked while regions like North America will have open qualifiers allowing any team within the region to participate.

Case in point: Lucas Rojo, head coach for Case Esports, noted that he could only participate in events in Spain. Thus he and his team would have to wait until 2024 before they can kick off a new competitive season.

This gap in competitive events has led to teams leaving the second-tier VALORANT scene. The lack of events results in a lack of reason to have a team, leaving many players and staff unemployed. This creates an unsustainable environment for aspiring professionals aiming to establish their presence.

Even as some of the region’s most talented players feature in the European second-tier scene, it continues to struggle with support and sustainability. Concerns about the uncertain future of esports and its revenue-generating potential make the situation even more worrisome, unless significant changes are adopted beforehand.

About the author

Tyler Esguerra

Dot Esports’ Lead Writer for League of Legends. A constant supporter of LCS, I main as AD carry, with over five years of industry experience. Occasionally, I enjoy playing Call of Duty or VALORANT. I also host the Critical Strike Podcast.

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