In brief: DOTA 2's The International tournament is officially taking place in Bucharest, Romania, this October, after the original Swedish venue had to be changed due to the government's refusal to classify the championship as an "elite sporting event."
Valve had been working with Sweden since 2019 to ensure the tenth DOTA 2 International tournament could be held in the country during 2020. Those plans were scuppered by the pandemic, but the company was given assurances by Stockholm Live and Visit Stockholm that this year's Championships would qualify for the same exemptions as other elite sporting events.
However, the Swedish Sports Federation refused to classify The International as an "elite sporting event," meaning anyone attempting to gain a visa for travel to Sweden, including players, talent, and staff, would likely be denied due to Covid-19 restrictions. Valve's appeals didn't work, and while there were some last-minute attempts to come to an agreement, the company ultimately decided to relocate.
The championships are now set to take place in Romania's largest stadium: the 55,634 capacity Arena Nationala in the capital of Bucharest. Players will be battling it out for the share of a $40 million prize pool when the event begins on October 7th, with the Group Stage running through October 10th, the Main Stage events starting on October 12th, and the final match taking place on October 17th.
"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," Valve said. "Prepare yourselves. At long last, the battle begins."
Ticket information will arrive shortly, and you can expect some Covid-19 rules to be in place at the tournament.
Masthead credit: Roman Kosolapov