DOTA 2 Fans Furious After TI10 Tickets Refunded Just Four Days Before Kick-Off
After the struggles of the global pandemic throughout 2020 and 2021, fans have been eagerly anticipating the return of live events, including the most lucrative esports events in history: Dota 2's The International. However, just four days before the event kicks off, just as fans begin to arrive in the rearranged Bucharest, Valve have refunded all tickets and cancelled the live audience.
The International 10, primed with its $40,000,000 prize pool, is set to kick off on October 7, although amid a range of problems with the coronavirus, Valve has been forced to play the competition in a behind-closed-doors atmosphere.
Valve's hand was forced through a dangerous spike in COVID-19 cases in Romania, which reached an all-time high on September 30. Alongside a huge influx of new cases in the country, at least two teams have been hit with the dilemma of having players contract the virus - calling into question whether the event should go ahead at all. Both Team Aster and Invictus Gaming have had players test positive, and now face the race against time to have them test negative before the opening fixtures.
With this in mind, Valve issued a statement on October 3, saying "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 live audience" - and fans are livid.
Some eager fans have already arrived in Bucharest ahead of the event, spending a considerable amount of money on travel expenditure and hospitality. One fan explained that he "got here 5 hours ago..." after travelling all the way from Brazil to attend.
Another fan found themselves in a similar position, saying "almost two days travelling to Bucharest and a lot of money spent, for nothing."
Andres Grimaldi, a Dota 2 fan on Twitter, also spoke out about how he spent over $5,000 on travel expenses and accommodations after having to travel from Ecuador to Peru to secure a visa to get back to Romania, due to Valve's last-minute announcement that fans will be allowed to the rearranged venue (September 16).
The Twitter user said "ticket refunding is an insult" after explaining the struggles he went through to get to The International 10's venue.
With a last-minute announcement regarding the live audience, Valve will undoubtedly be faced with more dilemmas in the build-up, especially around the two teams with quarantining players.
Starting on October 7, The International 10 will have the highest prize pool ever seen in esports - if only a little of that could be distributed in reimbursements...