Valorant,” Riot Games’ 5v5 competitive shooter, is still mapping out its nascent esports scene following its debut in early June. But players, talent and even major corporations are already making a push for women to get involved in the esport on the ground floor.

This past Sunday, Nerd Street Gamers and Comcast’s Spectacor Gaming held a qualifier for an all-female “Valorant” tournament, dubbed the FTW Summer Showdown and set to take place on Sept. 12. Sponsors included G Fuel and T1. And with a prize pool of $10,000, it marked the most high-profile outing for women in the “Valorant” esports yet.

But on Thursday, they upped the ante: Nerd Street Gamers and Spectacor announced that Riot Games had officially joined as a partner for the tournament, raised the prize pool to $50,000, and extended it from a one-day, eight-team event to a three-day, 12-team tournament taking place this Friday-Sunday, making it an official “Valorant” Ignition Series event — the first-ever female-only one.

The event is part of Spectacor Gaming’s FTW: For the Women initiative, which is focused on giving more women opportunities and connections within all levels of gaming. Co-founded by Spectacor Gaming’s executive operations manager Meredith Weber and communications manager Kelsey Rowley, the initiative was formed a little more than a year ago after Weber approached Spectacor Gaming president Tucker Roberts about starting a women in gaming initiative, “not really sure where it was going
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