Dota 2 developer Valve Software announced on Thursday (8 July) that The International 10 (TI10) has found a new venue in Bucharest, Romania, but will be postponed to October.
This year's iteration of Dota 2's annual world championship tournament will now be held from 7 to 17 October in the Arena Nationala, Romania's largest stadium that is capable of seating an audience numbering over 55,000.
TI10's Group Stage will now be held from 7 to 10 October followed by the Main Event from 12 to 17 October, where the 18 participating teams will be fighting to claim the coveted Aegis of Champions and the lion's share of a massive US$40 million prize pool.
In addition, plans seem to be in place for TI10 to be held in front of a live audience as Valve said that information on ticket sales for the tournament “will come shortly”. The developer also said that they are looking forward to “gathering with the global Dota 2 community both in-person and virtually” for TI10.
"We are grateful for the partnership we have formed with Romania and the city of Bucharest, and very much look forward to gathering with the global Dota 2 community, both in-person and virtually, to celebrate the elite players and amazing fandom at The International. Prepare yourselves. At long last, the battle begins," Valve said in their latest post on the official Dota 2 blog.
The 18 participating teams in TI10 are comprised of the best teams from the six regions of the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC), with 12 teams receiving direct invites to the tournament while the remaining six slots are to be determined through a set of regional qualifiers.
Evil Geniuses, PSG.LGD, Invictus Gaming, Virtus.pro, Quincy Crew, T1, Vici Gaming, Team Secret, Team Aster, Alliance, Beastcoast, and Thunder Predator have earned direct invites to TI10.
Meanwhile, Fnatic from Southeast Asia, Team Spirit from Eastern Europe/the CIS, Undying from North America, and SG Esports from South America have earned their spots in the tournament through the qualifiers. The final leg of TI10's regional qualifiers is taking place this week in Western Europe and China.
TI10 will mark the second time that Europe has hosted Dota 2's annual world championship tournament. The first-ever iteration of TI back in 2011, which also served as Dota 2's official public debut, was notably held in the GamesCom trade fair in Cologne, Germany.
For most of its history, TI has been hosted in North America. From 2012 to 2017, the tournament was held in the United States near Valve's home office in Seattle before being moved to Vancouver, Canada in 2018.
The most recent iteration of Dota 2's annual world championship tournament in 2019 was notably held in Shanghai, China, the first time that TI was held outside of the Western Hemisphere.
TI10 now out of Sweden
TI10 was originally scheduled to be held from 5 to 15 August in the Avicii Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. However, Valve was forced to move TI10 to a new venue after the Swedish government refused to officially recognize the tournament as an 'elite sporting event.'
That lack of official recognition meant that players, talent, and staff attempting to procure a visa for travel into Sweden for TI10 will be denied alongside a host of other issues that would have made hosting the tournament in the country practically impossible.
The Dota 2 community, especially in Sweden, were quick to voice their displeasure over the Swedish government's refusal to give TI10 official recognition.
Jonathan "Loda" Berg — CEO and co-founder of Swedish organisation Alliance, one of the teams set to compete in TI10 — notably said his government's decision was a "a stab in the back" of the country's renowned esports scene.
"The International is a very special event - the home country is not decided just easily - there is consideration of prestige and history. To see various Swedish branches continuing to reject esports, including the biggest esports tournament in the world, is no less than a stab in the back for all the people that are fighting for esports in Sweden. But not only that, it’s an uninformed decision, where the decision makers obviously can’t grasp the implications of this long term," said Loda.
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