The biggest esports tournament in the world is heading to Canada for the first time.
The International Dota 2 Championships, otherwise known as ‘The International’, will be held in Vancouver at Rogers Arena from August 20 until August 25. The finals will take place on the 24 and 25, while the other four days will boast other playoff matches and events. Tickets will be $125 to grant access to all midweek games, while a $250 ticket will grant access to the two finals dates.
Valve is the creator of Dota 2, and they announced the move late last week. Before this, The International was held in Seattle, drawing in sold-out crowds from around the world. It is likely that Vancouver’s 18,630-capacity Rogers Arena will sell out all six days.
For those unfamiliar with esports events, the competitions are similar to any other professional level of competition: Viewers buy tickets to watch and support the competitors with applause, chants and even the wave. The only difference is that it is five people playing on screens in the middle of the arena, as opposed to skating around on ice.
The Seattle arena that The International is typically hosted in is undergoing a major renovation this year in hopes of drawing in a new NHL franchise, so it was known in mid-December that the tournament would not return, at least for 2018.
The International boasts the largest prize pool in esports. Last year, teams competed for a total of $24.7 million. Back in 2014, the pool was only $10.9 million, showing a massive increase in popularity and watchability.
Fans will travel globally to watch esports events, often packing massive arenas. League of Legends, another popular game, sold out the 80,000 capacity Beijing National Stadium last year for their world finals. League of Legends held their North American finals in Toronto two years ago, selling out the 19,800-capacity Air Canada Centre on back to back nights.
The finals are streamed through several platforms such as Twitch and regularly top one million total viewers.