For six years now, The International has called the state of Washington its home base. Although the inaugural tournament was held in Cologne, Germany, every iteration thereafter took place in either Bellevue or Seattle.
Not this year, however. For the first time since 2012, TI will be hosted by a country that isn’t the United States. It will instead be held in Vancouver, Canada. Rogers Arena, a stadium with a seating capacity of roughly 19,000, will serve as the venue for the event.
The move to Canada was announced earlier today by Valve in a post on the official Dota 2 website. According to the post, TI8 is scheduled to run from Aug. 20 to 25.
Valve’s post didn’t mention how many teams will be featured at TI8, however. Eight teams will likely be directly invited based on the top eight squads in the Pro Circuit standings, while the rest should be determined through regional qualifiers in North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, China, South America, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
This news coincides with the fact that KeyArena, the home of The International since 2014, will be undergoing a large-scale renovation, targeting 2020 as the year of completion for the project. The renovation would render the venue completely unusable during construction, which of course forces Valve to look for other places.
Rumors of the move to Canada have also been floating around since last October, when a photo of an unspecified stadium within the country was posted on Twitter. The photo shows the stadium’s ticker displaying a message that reads “The International Dota 2 Championships” in full color.
The photo in question was part of a screenshot of a short news clip from The Sports Network (TSN), a Canada-based sports channel. At the time of writing, however, the clip and its associated article seem to be inaccessible.
This is a momentous occasion for Canadian Dota 2, given that there has only been one premier tournament held in the country in the game’s history—namely, the $100,000 Northern Arena BEAT Invitational in 2016. For them to get TI as their second premier LAN is a massive leap in terms of prestige and prize money.