Yesterday, game developer Value announced that Dota 2’s The International 10, which is set to commence on October 7th, will now be played without a live audience.
This is the latest announcement in what has been a rocky story for The International, with the tournament suffering a series of changes over the last few months.
After not being held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament was first meant to be played this year in Stockholm, Sweden. However due to visa issues, the tournament was moved to Bucharest, Romania, where it was to be held with a live audience.
Due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases in Eastern Europe, the organisers have cancelled the sale of all tickets and will be issuing refunds.
Valve noted in a release: “We have been carefully evaluating the continued rise of COVID-19 rates in Romania, as well as the resulting introduction of new local restrictions in Bucharest. To ensure the safety of all players, talent, and production staff participating in the event, we have decided to refund all ticket sales for The International 2021.”
The tournament will still go ahead as planned, but there will be no live audience with only the teams, talent, and other essential staff present on location. Following the country’s rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, the Romanian government has implemented a new series of restrictions in place to further combat the spread. This includes shops closing at 10 pm local time and mandatory masks in public.
To further complicate the situation, COVID-19 has also affected pro players and teams participating in The International. Recent news about several members of Team Aster and Team Invictus testing positive was revealed over the last seven days. It is still uncertain how this will affect the group stage which is set to start in just three days.
Esports Insider says: COVID-19 doesn’t spare anyone, not even The International. A tournament plagued by problems for the whole year has been dealt another blow, however, the silver lining is that it looks like the tournament will still be taking place.