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First Dota 2 Major with Live Audience in Two Years

A landmark for Dota 2 competition has been announced. According to a statement by esports organization ESL Gaming, the company will be hosting ESL One Stockholm. What makes this event significant is the fact that it is the first Dota 2 major to feature a live audience in more than two years. The event is set to be held live for fans and professionals alike to attend on May 20th through the 22nd, and will finish the Spring Tour of the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) 2021-2022.

ESL One Stockholm will be a major, with the prize pool being a respectable $500,000 — as well as teams having the opportunity to earn DPC points in order to increase their odds of qualifying for The International 11. The event is set to feature 18 teams from across the globe. There will be two to four spots available per region: China, Eastern Europe, North America, South America, Southeast Asia, and finally Western Europe.

Due to complications with the global pandemic, there has not been a Dota competition featuring a live audience since early 2020. Events in recent months that were expected to be live have actually been canceled. 

In the details listed on ESL’s website, the organizers explain the event further, stating, “A Major is an elimination-style tournament, where high performing teams from the Regional League compete against one another to earn even more DPC Points and cash prizes.

The 18 teams with a top placement in each Region’s Division I bracket compete in a Major. Each Region is guaranteed a minimum of at least 2 slots for teams to fill. The opening round of a Major functions like a best-of-two elimination tournament.

This is referred to as a Wildcard format, which encompasses 6 teams. The top 2 teams from the Wildcard Stage progress into what is referred to as the Group Stage. The Group Stage functions as a best-of-two, round-robin tournament.

The top 2 teams from the Division I bracket then make it into the Playoffs Stage. The bottom 2 teams are eliminated. Remaining teams will duke it out in a Division II bracket elimination round. The top, number 1 team from each Region doesn’t have to compete in the Group Stage – they get to go directly into the upper bracket of the Playoffs.”

Not only will ESL One Stockholm feature an audience, but it can be expected to be a quite sizable one. In the same announcement, the company stated that the event will be held at Hovet in Stockholm, Sweden. Hovet is an arena used primarily for ice hockey, concerts, as well as corporate events. 

Though no information has been provided by ESL Gaming regarding the amount of tickets that they will sell for the event (other esports tournaments with a live crowd have been selling smaller amounts of tickets than compared with the past), the Hovet has a large capacity — 8,094 spectators for ice hockey events and 8,300 for concerts. According to the ticket information ESL has provided on the event, seating will include a premium seating area in front of the stage, as well as ranked seating. 

Tickets will go on sale starting Thursday, February 17th. 

Images via ESL.