It was quite an exciting time for the South Asian Valorant scene when the much-awaited Skyesports Championship Series Phase 2 (SCS) was announced a couple of weeks ago.
As we enter Stage 2 of the Valorant Champions Tour 2022, SCS will be the ticket to Stage 2 APAC Challengers for all aspiring teams from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Bangladesh.
In a conversation with Abhishek Mallick of Sportskeeda Esports, Shiva Nandy, Founder and CEO of Skyesports, opened up about how the partnership with Riot Games came to be, his expectations from SCS Stage 2, and what the org is going to do differently from the previous South Asia VCT qualifier.
He also shed some light on why the organization will be hosting the Valorant event in Chennai and what other events fans can look forward to.
Here is an excerpt of the interaction.
Shiva Nandy on Road to Valorant Champions Tour 2022 and Skyesports Championship Series Phase 2
Q. Shiva, there must be quite an exciting atmosphere in Skyesports, as you will be the one hosting VCT Stage 2 South Asia. Tell us a bit about how this partnership with Riot Games came to be.
Shiva: I’ve personally always admired what Riot Games has created with League of Legends esports. While the MOBA couldn’t catch on in India, I was very excited when Valorant was announced as the FPS title had the potential to become a favorite amongst Indian and South Asian esports fans – and that’s exactly what is happening.
We supported grassroots-level competitions for Valorant from the get-go and established the city-based Skyesports League, with the game featuring the best players from India.
Riot has always supported our tournaments, so it was only a matter of time before we organized an official one. The team couldn’t be more excited to execute the Skyesports Champions Series, and I thank Riot for entrusting us with this duty.
We are also extremely proud that one of our original IPs is giving South Asian players a direct chance to represent the region internationally at the VCT Stage 2.
Q. Tell us a bit about the bracket system that you will be looking to introduce for the Valorant event? What are some of the things you would do differently compared to the previous Valorant Conquerors Championship events?
Shiva: The SCS Phase 2 has a higher number of teams from the previous South Asian VCT qualifier. This gives more players longer exposure to the spotlight and will also help the emerging underdogs gain experience, build confidence, and even perhaps fight for the title.
The biggest difference, however, is that the third phase, the playoffs, will happen as a LAN event. We will be flying all of the teams out to Chennai to compete in the SCS playoffs in front of a live audience if the COVID situation allows for it, of course. We have a lot of plans in store for this LAN, and it will certainly set a benchmark for South Asian esports.
Q. While cities like Delhi and Mumbai have enjoyed major tournaments, this is perhaps the first time that a competition of this scale will be hosted in Chennai. How are the preparations coming along?
Shiva: Skyesports is based in Chennai and we look forward to having the teams here in our city. We have a lot of local fans and the city also has a sizable esports audience who have been waiting for a long time for an event like this to happen. I am glad that we can be the ones to bring it to them.
Another big reason for bringing the competition to Chennai was that the VCT Stage 2 APAC Challengers will begin shortly after the SCS wraps up on June 5. The city provides one of the best pings in South Asia for teams competing in the Singapore and Hong Kong servers, which will be used for the APAC Challengers.
As the APAC Challengers are set to begin very soon after the SCS, we wanted to reduce travel for the players and help them set up in Chennai to represent South Asia internationally with a great ping.
Q. What can audiences look forward to the most from the event?
Shiva: I don’t know how much I can disclose right now, but fans can expect a lot. Continuing from the live audience at the AMD Skyesports Souvenir, we will be allowing an audience into the playoffs of the SCS as well to cheer for their favorite team. This will be possible if the COVID-19 situation allows it to happen.
We are also doing a lot of video shoots for the SCS with the players, which also includes a music video. We will be having some live performances at the SCS Playoffs as well.
All in all, fans can look forward to a lot of things in the SCS.
Q. What are your thoughts about Riot Games’ roadmap for 2023, as well as the initiative program that they will be launching for partners that include regional teams as well as domestic leagues?
Shiva: Riot is leveling up Valorant esports further in 2023 with international leagues, domestic leagues, and partner programs. I am very happy with the announcement as it has announced something for everyone.
The expanded domestic leagues and in-game competitive experience will help grow the game from the grassroots level. The three international LANs and long-term partnerships with teams will give top Valorant organizations and players something to look forward to.
Esports organizations play an essential role in growing the competitive esports scene, and these partnerships will give them more incentive to invest in Valorant while also being supported by Riot.
Q. Apart from the VCT Stage 2 South Asia event, what are some of the other exciting tournaments that fans can look forward to from Skyesports in 2022?
Siva: We recently announced the launch of our new IP, the Skyesports Souvenir. After the first edition in Mumbai, we will be bringing it to cities across India, including Hyderabad, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, and more. That is something we are really excited about.
Other than this, we are really looking forward to the Skyesports League and the Skyesports Championship 4.0. Both will be LAN events, and the stakes are set to be even higher.