Spectacor Gaming first launched their FTW: For the Women Initiative back in 2019 with the intent to create space for and draw more attention to women in gaming. Now, in collaboration with Nerd Street Gamers, T1, and G Fuel, Spectacor Gaming will host an all-women VALORANT tournament, aptly called the FTW Summer Showdown.
The tournament will take place on September 12 with the qualifier going down the week before on September 5th. The qualifier will determine which team will take the eighth slot to compete against seven professional all-women rosters and one amateur all-women team for a $10,000 prize pool. There will also be a $1,000 prize pool for the qualifier.
According to an article from ESPN, the FTW: For the Women initiative has supported women’s tournaments that Nerd Street Gamers has previously run. Building off their previous collaboration, Spectacor Gaming has also brought on T1, an esports team owned by SK Telecom. Spectacor is the gaming division of Comcast NBCUniversal, and SK Telecom is basically their South Korean equivalent. Gaming and esports energy drink company G Fuel will also be acting as sponsors. In fact, five representatives of G Fuel will actually be competing in the tournament.
In organizing this tournament, the FTW: For the Women initiative is definitely making headway towards its goal of “push[ing] forward opportunities for and connect[ing] women within the gaming space.” While the ultimate goal is to make the more general sphere of gaming and esports more equitable for female competitors, creating space by way of female-only tournaments is an important step towards achieving that goal.
An article from The Verge noted that events such as the Girl Gamer Festival and the upcoming FTW Summer Showdown act as important springboards for female teams and competitors. From allowing newer players to get the hang of playing in LAN tournaments to exposing them to new audiences, there’s more to be gained from such tournaments beyond the prize pool. This is particularly important because of the plethora of ways in which the wider esports world can bar female gamers from access via more subliminal means. For example, the arguable complications of sharing a team house when the team is mixed-gender, the increased amount of harassment that female players face compared to their male peers, and even having to deal with gender-stereotype-based accusations of cheating all contribute to female subjugation in the gaming world.
It becomes important to create safe spaces— which all-female spaces tend to be— that allow female talent the opportunity to develop. So far, FTW has more than stayed true to their name, and from here, there are only good things to come.