The International Dota 2 Championship is departing its signature Key Arena in Seattle. The major esports competition, routinely one of the biggest events in competitive gaming history each year, is moving to Canada.
TI8 coming to Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada
Announced earlier this week, the battle for the Aegis of Champions will take place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia. From Aug. 20-25, the top Dota 2 teams from various corners of the globe will fight for prize and glory.
While the first The International competition took place in Cologne, Germany, Seattle hosted the subsequent six. In 2014, the city’s Key Arena became the event’s signature spot, hosting four TI’s in a row.
The new venue, Rogers Arena, is the home of Vancouver Canucks, the city’s professional ice hockey team. The arena boasts a capacity of 18,630, slightly more than Key Arena’s 17,459.
New location to help with travel visas
Visa issues in esports have popped up on various occasions. Given the recent changes in US visa regulations, moving the event to a different country could ease certain roadblocks.
Last year, the travel ban ordered by President Donald Trump led to a roundtable discussion on whether TI should stay in the US. After serious reconsideration, the organizers decided to keep the event on American soil. This year, however, Canada receives the chance to host the keystone Dota 2 event.
Vancouver makes sense from a geographical point of view. It’s the closest major, non-American city to Seattle. With Valve headquartered in Seattle, organization can proceed without vast changes.
How big can this year’s TI get?
While the event itself is already an industry to-do, its prize pool has attracted increased attention year after year. The prize pool not only grows each year but also broke all-time records last year.
Last year, for example, Team Liquid claimed the lion’s share of the $24 million monies bucket. That $10 million marked the most loot an esports team has ever netted from a competitive gaming tournament.
Over the last three years, the final prize pool of TI events has grown by 18 percent per year on average. TI5 boasted a prize pool of roughly $18 million, which was followed by roughly $21 million for the 2016 iteration. Last year, TI7 broke the record for any esports event, offering a prize pool of $24 million.
It will be exciting to see whether 2018 can top last year’s record prize pool. Ticket sales for the action-packed tournament go live on March 23 at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. PST.