Valve's TI10 moves forward despite Sweden's ruling: Where to?
Regardless of the level of importance, no event in the world is safe from the drastic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the majority of sports events remain indefinitely postponed, there are a few that have managed to move forward. In the realm of esports, one of the most exciting returns is Valve Corporation’s The International 10 (TI10). However, the zest is currently put on hold after Sweden ruled out esports into its sports federation.
On 12 May 2021, Valve excitedly announced that the world’s largest and most prestigious annual Dota 2 tournament, The International, returns in August 2021 in Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. There was the increased Dota 2 prize pool, schedules of the Regional Qualifiers, and a newly released feature that allows fans to support their favourite Dota Pro Circuit teams. Last but not least, even Bitcasino and avid esports bettors were all set with esports betting markets and esports odds.
Almost everything was ready for the main event. Unfortunately, on 22 June 2021, Valve addressed the public with sad news, reporting that the Swedish Sports Federation voted to reject esports into the organisation and that The International is no longer an ‘elite sporting event’. After strong efforts to reason with the country’s Minister of the Interior, there was still immediate rejection.
The ‘elite sporting event’ is a necessary category for TI10’s competing participants, talents, and staff to get visa exemptions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The International is an offline event. Albeit being based on video games, esports tournaments are held in massive arenas to avoid network latency between the audience and players. What makes the 10th edition so special is that it’s not only returning after a one-year hiatus, but it’s also back in Europe for the first time since 2011.
Dota TI10 moves forward in Bucharest
When one door closes, another one opens. On July 8, Valve announced that the main event will be held in Bucharest, Romania. It’s the home of the Professional Gamers League (PGL)—one of Valve’s long-time partner tournament organisers.
Instead of kicking off from August 10 to 15, it’s scheduled to take place in early October. The Group Stage will run from October 7 to 10, the Main Stage on October 12, and the finals on October 17.
The list of TI10’s 18 invited and qualified teams
Valve remains steadfast in hosting the TI10. From increasing the prize pool to ongoing preventive measures against the pandemic, it will still proceed with the original schedule of Regional Qualifiers. As of 8 July 2021, the list of the 18 invited and qualified teams is almost complete. Read on below to see which teams will vie for the Aegis of Champions and the resounding prize pool worth $40 million.
Ranking from highest to lowest, below are the invited teams based on their results in the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season:
6 qualified teams
Here are the teams representing the six Regional Qualifiers:
- Eastern Europe — Team Spirit
- Western Europe — TBA
- North America — Undying
- South America — SG e-sports
- Southeast Asia — Fnatic
- China — TBA.
Show off your allegiance through the Supporters Clubs feature
Sweden’s failure to recognise The International as an elite sporting event is not only a subject of venue and delay, it is bigger than that. It sparks the recurring debate on whether esports is an actual sport or not. With esports’ history spanning more than five decades, it’s still in the phase of limited recognition. True to what Mike Jones, associate at law firm Harbottle & Lewis, commented, its journey is a series of steps forward followed by one or two steps back.
With The International 10 officially having a venue for the main event, there are certainly a plethora of options to celebrate Dota 2. You can focus on supporting your favourite teams through Valve’s newly launched Supporters Clubs feature.
The new and immersive platform allows you to buy your favourite teams’ developed bundles of badges and seasonal items. This will help fund their group because they directly receive 50% of all sales.
What are you waiting for? Take your chance and show off your allegiance before the first edition ends until the start of the TI10. As for the following seasons, Valve guarantees that the club will last through each Major.
Words by: Antoinette Laraze