The Swedish Sports Federation has refused to recognize Dota 2's premier annual tournament, The Internationals, as an ‘elite sporting event.’ Hence, Sweden will not be the tournament's location.
If Stockholm is out of the picture, Valve will be left without a confirmed venue just weeks before its grand event. It is unlikely that TI will be canceled, considering the previous event was held in 2019.
Valve clarified in a blog post that they would relocate the event to a different European country. However, they have to deal with two major issues: finding a new stadium on such short notice and handling permits like visas.
Will there be the usual Dota 2 crowd at TI10?
UEFA EURO 2020 is ongoing with a surprisingly full crowd, even under the constant lingering threat of another COVID wave. It is expected that the finals of the tournament, being held at Wembley stadium, will receive an audience of 60,000.
There are no arguments against hosting a crowd per se. The EU vaccine passport, operational from July, will restore some freedom of cross-continental travel. That said, it could still go either way.
Valve does not depend on auditorium ticket sales to host TI. Proceeds from the Dota 2 annual Battle Pass generally bear the expenses many times over. Moreover, Valve will have to re-organize such a massive event in a month. Omitting spectators altogether clears out organizational headspace and also opens up options to acquire smaller venues.
With that in mind, the following countries could likely serve as venues for The Internationals 10.
This is probably the fan-favorite candidate for TI10, primarily for nostalgic reasons. It would be a trip back to the roots for Dota 2 as the first-ever milestone tournament, TI1, was held in Cologne, Germany. Starting this July, the same city will host ESL Cologne 2021, a tier-1 LAN event for CS:GO.
It would probably not be all that difficult to get another major Valve event, the Dota 2 TI, greenlit come august. Frankfurt, the venue for ESL One Dota 2 back in 2016, is also another choice.
Kyiv’s Expo Centre was the venue for the last big DPC event, the WePlay AniMajor. It's not as big a stadium as Seattle’s KeyArena, but it does have the added advantage of a hassle-free tournament relocation for Valve.
On the other hand, it is unprecedented for a TI to be at the same place as the last Major. But unusual circumstances call for unusual solutions.
Nearly all of Iceland’s population is expected to be vaccinated fully by August, so local Dota 2 fans can feel at ease attending a crowded marquee there. It is far from the heartland of Europe, but ping issues will not factor into a Valve-sponsored LAN event.
Interestingly, Laugardalshöll in Reykjavik was recently the venue for an in-person League of Legends (and Valorant) tournament. Like its classic MOBA rival, Dota 2’s flagship tournament in the same place might add some implicit spice to the excitement of a full-fledged premier tournament.
Katowice is a regular site for CS:GO tournaments, including IEM Katowice 2020. Considering the popularity of CS:GO and Dota 2 among the Polish youth, the Spodek arena is a likely candidate, if not Valve’s first choice.
However, there is one additional possible caveat. Like Poland, Esports (especially CS:GO) is also big in Sweden. But red tape barred Valve from hosting their big Dota 2 event after months of planning. Complications in getting an OK from the Polish authorities might delay the TI schedule, if not outright deny them the rite of hosting as the Swedish Sports Federation did.
When push comes to shove, Valve always has the option to host TI10 in Bucharest. It is most convenient for them to take it back to their familiar PGL DPC studio. However, this also means a spectator's TI, which Valve might not want for Dota 2’s biggest professional showdown.
Disclaimer: This article reflects the opinions of the writer.