Coming into 2021, Valve esports organizers had high hopes for the return of The International 2021 Dota 2 world championships to return in full form with a new venue in Romania. Unfortunately, while the competition is slated to continue, it will be without a major spectator experience. Valve has refunded tickets to The International 2021 and the competition will go on as scheduled without an audience this year.
Valve announced its decision to refund spectator tickets for Dota 2 The International 2021 in a blog post on October 2, 2021. While the competition was originally slated to go on in full form in the Arena Nationala in Bucharest, Romania, COVID-19 has nixed the possibility of a safe spectator experience. The country has the second worst vaccination rate in the European Union and has reached a record high case reporting of 8.28 per thousand new infections over the past two weeks. With this in mind, and to prioritize the safety of teams, staff, and management, Valve has chosen to refund tickets. The competition will still begin as scheduled on October 7, 2021.
This would be the second year in a row the Dota 2 The International event has been affected by COVID-19. The event didn’t happen at all in 2020 with the viral pandemic hitting its full stride and making travel and large events incredibly unsafe. It was during this time that The International event also moved between cities from Stockholm, Sweden where it was set to take place in 2020 to Bucharest, Romania. The dates of the competition were delayed for some time, but eventually a Battle Pass was released for the intended event this year.
Dota 2 The International continues to be one of the most financially gigantic esports events in the world. It’s a shame that continuing issues with COVID-19 will continue to hamper the competition, but with Group Stage starting on October 7, Main Stage hitting on October 12, and a more than $40 million prize pool on the line, stay tuned as the action takes place shortly. We’ll have updates right here on Shacknews.