Seems like Valve can't catch a break with The International 2021 thanks to COVID-19. After having to move venues, they've now cancelled and refunded all live tickets. This is a pretty big blow to the biggest esports event of the year, with it having the biggest prize-pool ever for a single event at $40,018,195.
Valve said they had be watching rising COVID rates in Romania and were aware of new local restrictions, so it seems requiring attendees to be fully vaccinated and masked was just not enough as they said:
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.
There were also reports of members from multiple Dota 2 Pro teams (and their staff) testing positive for COVID-19, so nothing has really gone well for the event overall.
Thankfully the rest of the event will still be going ahead on October 7. These are the dates sticking as far as we know:
- Group Stage will run October 7 - 10
- Main Stage play starts October 12
- The final will be on October 17
In other Dota 2 news, Valve recently announced they will remove 32bit support and OpenGL, with the Linux version bumping up the Vulkan version.