The International is a multimillion-dollar event held in North America every year. It is the poster boy for esports tournaments with a prize pool of around $25 million in 2018. The event is crowdfunded, and only 25% of the proceeds go towards the International Prize pool. Team OG won The International 2018 and took home the first place prize money of $11,234,158. Valve’s International has mostly stayed in North America, but that is about to change next year.
The International has had several venues over the past few years. Starting out in Europe during its inaugural year, it moved to North America. Since 2012, The Internationals have remained in North America. Here is a list of the various venues that have hosted The Internationals over the years.
The International is the culmination of the entire Dota 2 esports calendar. For 2018, all the events leading up to The International were qualifying events. Teams would earn points which would then grant the top teams a direct invite to The International 2018. The Dota 2 International location announcement is usually in March of the same year. Such an early announcement gives ample time to fans and players to plan their travel.
In a break from tradition, Valve has already announced the venue for TI9. The Dota 2 community will move continents to Shanghai, China in August 2019. The venue for the event is the Mercedes Benz Arena in China. This venue has already played host to the Shanghai Major in March 2016.
With a seating capacity of 183,000, this is one of the most popular venues in Shanghai. It is rare for Valve to announce the location of next year’s International so early. However, they want fans and players to be able to secure their visas and hence the early announcement.
We have already witnessed one tournament in Shanghai. The Shanghai Major in 2016 was a disaster. It was also the first time that Valve held an event of such importance and big prize pool in China. The organisers, Perfect World, were to handle an event of this scale.
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) August 25, 2018
However, going to China for the International seems only logical. During the recent TI8 in Vancouver, more than 50% of the crowd was easily Chinese. The Chinese people have a very nationalist sentiment when it comes to esports ( or any sports/competition for that matter). This sentiment is excellent, and they show their support for their favourite team in the loudest possible manner. The energy and the loyalty portrayed by the Chinese fans is unparalleled in esports.
The Chinese mainland easily has one of the most substantial pockets of Dota 2 fans in the world. They have several options to choose from such as Newbee, LGD, DK [ potentially reforming a team for TI9] and others. Valve’s decision to announce the event for next year in China will be catering to this fan base.
There is no doubt that the Chinese audience will have a bias towards the Chinese teams. They want their favourite teams to win and bring home the International 2019. For years, the Chinese always seem to win the even-numbered Internationals. After all, they won TI2, TI4, TI6. So when PSG.LGD reached the finals of TI8; people got their hopes up.
When you watch a TI9 game, you can be sure to hear the loudest cheers for the Chinese teams. However, you will not get to listen to any negative attitudes towards non-Chinese teams. The Chinese fans are accepting of great Dota and will cheer good plays.
The Shanghai Major 2016 was a disaster. Perfect World was not equipped to handle the event. They bungled up the player amenities, their living quarters as well as the final production. That major was one of the first attempts by Valve to go to China. It failed miserably. This event, although failure was a learning experience for Valve.
PGL will be the event organisers for TI9. Their involvement in TI9 will bring in the expertise of a company known for hosting some big tournaments in esports. With over a year to prepare, PGL will have ample time to ensure there are no flaws in the production.
Dota 2’s fixed schedule has always been the envy of Esports players. Especially for CSGO players who have no fixed schedule and cannot plan their upcoming year. With the TI9 announcement, Dota 2 talent can ensure that they have their visas ready for the event. Fans can book tickets and secure their preparation in time for the event.
We are looking at you Admiral Bulldog. We hope you can secure your visa for TI9. One year of preparation should be enough time.
Shanghai is an excellent location for the Dota 2 TI9.There are several websites which offer you advice on your travel to China such as TripAdvisor, Journiest and Forbes. With Valve’s announcement, we might see a shuffle in Dota 2 Majors and their site. For now, we await the start of the DPC season on September 17th.