For those who somehow haven’t noticed, the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t go away. We’re still very much in the middle of it here in the US, with on average 100,000 cases and 2,000 deaths a day. Parts of Europe aren’t faring any better. Given that, it might surprise you to know that Valve was planning to hold Dota 2’s The International tournament as a live event; it had been delayed from April to October 7th-17th and had been moved from Sweden to Bucharest, Romania, where Valve hoped for a large live audience.
But that was in July, and as of October, Romania is in the middle of a huge spike of cases, its worst ever, putting it in the top three countries for new infections in Europe over the last week. Consequently, Valve has decided to cancel the in-person part of the event, refunding all the tickets people have been buying for the last two weeks.’
“We have been carefully evaluating the continued rise of Covid 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. We wanted nothing more than to welcome fans live to the event, but we can no longer do so in a way that allows us to prioritize the health and well-being of both audience members and participants. Those who purchased tickets will be issued a full refund automatically. The International 2021 will begin as planned on October 7, and we look forward to welcoming the best Dota teams in the world to the stage and sharing the experience online with millions of fans around the world.”
As Kotaku notes, the players aren’t entirely safe either; several members of one team announced last week that they had contracted the virus.
Please be safe out there, folks.