The International Dota 2 Championships is arguably the most prestigious tournament in esports. Only at TI will you see plays like the million Dollar Dream Coil, the six million Dollar Echo Slam, and $11 million Dollar Cinderella runs. Valve’s premier Dota 2 tournament boasts the highest prize pools in esports, year after year, and draws in the attention of over 1 million viewers from across the world.
However, until very recently, The International Dota 2 Championships were only held in western countries and regions. TI9, held in China was the first one to be held in the eastern hemisphere while TI10 is scheduled to take place in Sweden, Europe, thus moving back to the west once again.
With the announcement of TI10 in Sweden, Valve has made it clear that it intends to make TI a global event that takes place in various countries across the world. It also invited bids from various countries and tournament organizers to host TI11 which adds further credence to this.
Through this article, we will explore which venues and countries could make for the most interesting settings and which set of fans deserve to play host to The International the most. At the same time, allow us the liberty to speculate on the challenges that tournament organizers might encounter when trying to host a tournament in these regions.
Six countries/regions that we believe deserve to host a TI.
1. Kyiv, Ukraine.
Region: Eastern Europe
Why it would make a good host: One could argue that the CIS Dota 2 region is one of the largest and most passionate fanbases across Dota 2. Russian language Dota 2 streams consistently dwarf English viewership during Dota 2 tournaments. This is perhaps the largest fanbase that is yet to see a TI being hosted in its region.
Ukraine is a prime candidate for a CIS TI simply because of relaxed VISA regulations which would allow players to actually attend the tournament without facing too many issues. The country also has several top-notch indoor stadiums such as the National Palace of Arts which played host to the hugely successful Kiev Major.
StarLadder and WePlay! are two of the biggest CIS tournament organizers and are based out of Kyiv, which would make the tournament easily executable. Travel expenses and accommodation will also be relatively cheap, making it far more affordable for Dota 2 fans who want to catch a glimpse of the action.
Cons: If we’re being honest, nothing really comes to mind. There is a reason why Kyiv was first on our list. It is probably the perfect city to play host to a TI.
2. Manila, Philippines.
Region: Southeast Asia
Why it would make a good host: It wouldn’t be too far fetched to say that SEA’s Dota 2 player base comes largely from the highly dedicated and passionate fans in the Philippines.
It is no surprise that the best ever Dota 2 Major took place in Manila way back in 2016. Even though it has been over four years since that wonderful event came to an end, no other tournament (Major or TI) has come close to replicating the hype of that Filipino event. The Philippines will definitely blow the roof off if it gets the opportunity to host a TI.
Keep in mind that the country is a beautiful holiday destination thanks to its exotic coasts and vibrant culture. The country is also pretty easy on the wallet, has relaxed VISA regulations along with a growing infrastructure which makes it an ideal destination for a TI.
- Philippines Anti-Drug Laws are the big elephants in the room. Valve believes that the country’s government regulations for esports players entering the country are unreasonable infringements on the player’s privacy.
- Despite good infrastructure, unlikely VISA issues, and a dedicated crowd, it’s going to be this one particular issue, of the anti-drug laws, that makes the Philippines a non-viable destination for a TI.
3. Los Angeles, USA
Region: North America
Why it would make a good host: Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood, and certainly one of the most iconic cities in pop culture would provide a great backdrop for The International Dota 2 Championships. The city is no stranger to Tier 1 esports tournaments, having hosted the 2013 and 2016 League of Legends World Championship Finals.
L.A. was all set to play host to one of the DPC majors this season: ESL One Los Angeles 2020. Unfortunately, the tournament did not take place due to the pandemic, and the first USA-based Dota 2 tournament in over two years was taken away from the eager fans. Hosting the tournament here would certainly help these fans get over this disappointment on missing out on a Major.
There are also several spectacular venues in the Los Angeles area such as the Staples Center which could provide a fascinating setting for The International.
The city is also in close proximity to Valve’s home base in Seattle, which would also make logistics less of a challenge. USA has proved to be successful at hosting multiple TIs, and has all the chips in place to host the world's greatest Dota 2 tournament.
- The USA has already hosted its fair share of TIs. Six of the nine TIs so far have been held in the USA.
- VISA issues have always been a problem with TIs hosted in the United States of America.
- It would be a far more expensive affair for foreign fans to attend and spectate the International Dota 2 Championships compared to other countries.
4. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Why it would make a good host: Another SEA city which has proven itself across various tournaments in being one of the most welcoming and hype Dota 2 crowds in the world is Kuala Lumpur. The city has already played host to a DPC Major while the nearby Genting Highlands has hosted a number of ESL One tournaments as a result of the fan base and its easy accessibility.
The tournament also doesn’t have any issues with players’ privacy unlike the Philippines, whilst also preserving most of the advantages of hosting a TI in the region, making it an ideal venue if Valve decides to bring TI to the Southeast Asian region.
- The crowd while being hype in its own right still doesn’t bring the same energy that the Philippines (or CIS crowds for that matter) bring to the table.
- Whilst VISA issues are minimal, some countries still have a number of issues when they try to come into Malaysia. For example, Israeli players like Neta "33" Shapira have previously faced issues with entering the country for previous Dota 2 tournaments.
5. Katowice, Poland.
Region: Central Europe
Why it would make a good host: Katowice is considered by many esports enthusiasts as the home of esports. It is one of the most historic cities with respect to esports, having hosted multiple top-tier CS:GO and Dota 2 tournaments.
There is an active esports viewing culture which populates the venues even for the smallest of esports tournaments. However, despite all this, it has never really hosted a massive Dota 2 tournament. The biggest one it has hosted is ESL One Katowice 2018 which featured a million Dollar prize pool.
Despite being equipped to do so, a TI caliber event has never really taken place in this city. It would certainly be interesting and rewarding to see this historic city playing host to a TI.
- Their biggest advantage could prove to be their biggest weakness. Too many esports events have taken place in this city which could take away some of the sheen of The International from local audiences.
- Since Europe will be hosting TI10, hosting the next TI in the same region may not be received well by Dota 2 fans from other regions.
6. Lima, Peru
Region: South America
Why it would make a good host: The South American region is perhaps the fastest-growing region in PC esports viewership. It has a humongous amount of fans who have been underserved for years and hence are eagerly awaiting a top-tier esports tournament.
The ESL One Rio 2019 Major would have been the first major esports tournament to be held in the region. However, the pandemic played spoilsport, canceling the event. So TI has the chance to be the first esports event for legions of frenetic Dota 2 fans and will provide Valve with a massive chance to expand its player base.
While Brazilians are fond of CS:GO, Peruvians have proven that they have the most dedicated Dota 2 fan base in the region via their vocal support in online tournaments, which would likely make for a hype crowd at a LAN like TI.
The historic Coliseo Amauta with a capacity of 20,000 would prove to be a perfect venue for an event of TI’s size.
- TI would be the first major Dota 2 event taking place in the region, which makes it hard to estimate the size of the local crowd that could turn up for the event. There’s also the question of whether or not foreign fans would be willing to travel to the country to watch the tournament amongst other logistical issues.
- The internet issues that Peruvians face with regards to Dota 2 is well documented. Considering the fact that the tournament has to be broadcast across the world, issues with the internet could force another ‘Shanghai Major’ situation.
Where would you like to see a TI being hosted?