The third and final Major of the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) will be hosted in Arlington, Texas from 4 to 14 August, organiser PGL Esports announced on Thursday (17 March).
The Arlington Major will serve as the conclusion to the 2021-2022 DPC's Summer Tour, which will begin with the Summer regional leagues from 6 June to 17 July.
The 18 top teams from each regional league will then qualify for the Major.
These will be comprised of four teams each from Western Europe and China, three teams each from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, and two teams each from North and South America.
The Arlington Major will feature the 18 best teams in the circuit competing for their cut of a US$500,000 prize pool and DPC points. As the final Major of the season, the Arlington Major will give away the biggest amount of DPC points at 3,500.
DPC points will determine the 12 teams that will receive direct invites to The International 11 (TI11), this year's iteration of Dota 2's annual world championship tournament that is expected to take place in October.
The Arlington Major will be hosted in the Esports Stadium Arlington, the largest dedicated esports facility in North America, and will feature a live audience.
The tournament will also be the first Major to be hosted in North America since the Boston Major in December 2016.
"Dota 2 has a lot of fans in the US, and Arlington has a perfect location for tournaments of this caliber: Esports Stadium. We are fortunate to be back in North America with another Major after Boston," PGL CEO Silviu Stroie said in a statement.
— PGL (@pglesports) March 17, 2022
Barring a change in circumstances, the Arlington Major will be the second Dota 2 international tournament this year to feature a live audience.
The first will be the ESL One Stockholm Major in May, which will serve as the conclusion of the 2021-2022 DPC's ongoing Spring Tour.
All Dota 2 tournaments have been without a live audience since early 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic first hit.
The last events that had a crowd in attendance were the 2019-2020 DPC season's Leipzig Major in January and the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 3, which was held in Kyiv, Ukraine in March.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the rest of the Majors for the 2020 season to be cancelled, with The International 10 (TI10) postponed to the next year and the entire circuit put on hiatus.
The 2021 DPC season was mostly held online, though the ONE Esports Singapore Major in March and the WePlay AniMajor in June were both hosted as LAN tournaments without a live audience.
The hosting of TI10 was also met with complications after it had to pull out of its original venue in Sweden after the Swedish government refused to give the tournament official recognition.
Dota 2 developer Valve Software later announced that TI10 will be held in Bucharest, Romania in front of a live audience, though this decision was later repealed due to rising coronavirus infection rates and new restrictions in the new venue.
The 2021-2022 DPC season was also plagued by the continuing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Winter Major getting cancelled over growing concerns that new coronavirus strains would make hosting an international LAN tournament unfeasible.
The Winter Major has since been replaced with online Regional Finals, with the second half of that tournament series being held from 18 to 20 February.
With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to complicate any plans to host a LAN tournament with a live audience, the success of the upcoming ESL One Stockholm Major is sure to be a major factor in determining whether the competitive Dota 2 scene will have more live events in the future or stay primarily online.