Valve Finds A City Willing To Host DOTA 2’s The International

Valve Finds A City Willing To Host DOTA 2’s The International
Bucharest's Arena Națională during a pre-Covid football match (Photo: Scott Heavey, Getty Images)

Already delayed from 2020, this year’s The International was supposed to take place in Sweden, until Sweden looked at the continuing global pandemic and said no thank you. So Valve had to scramble to find a city that would take the event, and in Bucharest, they’ve found it.

Valve announced yesterday that The International 2021 will take place in October, and will be held outdoors in the Arena Națională, a stadium that’s normally home to Romania’s big football matches. It’ll run from October 7-17, with a total prize pool of $US40,018,195 ($51,327,337).

Given Valve’s struggles with Swedish authorities, who refused to allow The International to take place when they decided esports events weren’t allowed the same pandemic-related exemptions as actual sports, they’re understandably very happy with their new friends in Romania, saying in a blog post:

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.

The Arena Națională seats up to 55,000 for football matches in non-pandemic times, though you’d imagine the capacity for The International would be a much smaller figure.

And while it’s understandable to side-eye Valve’s attempts to make sure the tournament takes place no matter the location and no matter the risk, it’s not like big stadium gatherings are a rarity in 2021. Yesterday’s England v Denmark game at Wembley, for example, allowed 60,000 spectators in, though that’s in a country where half the population has been vaccinated.

In Romania, only 11% have been fully vaccinated at time of posting, which, uh, is a lot less.

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