In June, Valve announced that it was looking for a new home for The International 10, the upcoming Dota 2 world championship. The event had been planned for Stockholm, Sweden, but Valve began looking into alternative locations after it was unable to have the tournament recognized as an "elite sporting event."
Without that classification, Covid-19 restrictions meant that some competitors might not be allowed into the country. A few days later, the Swedish Esports Association confirmed that the event would indeed be moved out of Sweden.
After nearly two weeks of silence, Valve announced today that The International 10 has a new home: The 55,634-seat Arena Nationala in Bucharest, Romania, the country's largest stadium.
"We are grateful for the partnership we have formed with Romania and the city of Bucharest, and very much look forward to gathering with the global Dota 2 community, both in-person and virtually, to celebrate the elite players and amazing fandom at The International," Valve said. "Prepare yourselves. At long last, the battle begins."
Romania appears to be fairly middle-of-the-pack among European nations in terms of its Covid-19 management, although the current infection rate is down to just 1% of peak, according to this Reuters infographic. Specific requirements for The International 10 haven't been announced yet, but strict Covid-19 controls are in place for upcoming Euro 2020 matches: Attendees must wear either a surgical or FPP mask and present proof of either Covid-19 vaccination or a recent negative test. Distancing, movement, and contact rules are also in place. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see similar measures enforced for The International.
The International 10 group stage will run October 7-10, followed by Main Stage play on October 12, leading into the final showdown on October 17. This year's prize pool, funded by sales of The International Battle Pass, stands in excess of $40 million.