The International (video gaming)
|Location(s)||Cologne, Germany (2011)
Seattle, Washington, United States (2012–14)
|Inaugurated||August 17, 2011– August 21, 2011|
|Most recent||July 8, 2014– July 21, 2014|
|Organized by||Valve Corporation|
The International is an annual electronic sports Dota 2 championship tournament hosted by Valve Corporation, the video game developer behind Dota 2, in which sixteen teams are personally invited to compete. The tournament began as the debut of Dota 2 in August 2011 at Gamescom, with a total prize pot of $1.6 million and a grand prize of one million dollars.
The International 2011
Valve announced the first edition of The International on August 1, 2011. 16 teams were invited to compete in the tournament, which would also serve as the first public viewing of Dota 2, and it was streamed online with commentary in four languages; English, Chinese, German, and Russian. The tournament was funded by Valve, including the $1 million USD grand prize, with Nvidia supplying the hardware. It took place at Gamescom in Cologne from August 17 to 21 the same year.
The tournament started with a group stage in which the winners of each of the four groups were entered into a winner's bracket, and the other teams entered the loser's bracket. The rest of the tournament was then played as a double-elimination tournament. The final of this first tournament was between Ukrainian team Natus Vincere and Chinese team EHOME, with Natus Vincere winning the grand prize after beating EHOME in three out of the four matches. Runner's up EHOME won a second place prize of $250,000 USD and the other top eight teams split the remaining prize pool of $350,000 USD.
|7/8th||Online Kingdom.Nirvana int||$25,000|
The International 2012
The International 2012 was announced in May 2012 and held during PAX Prime. The event was held at the 2,500 seat Benaroya Hall in Seattle from 31 August to 2 September, with teams situated in glass booths on the main stage. The total prize pool remained $1.6 million USD, with $1 million USD for the winning team, and it was again broadcast in multiple languages.
The previous winners, Natus Vincere, were beaten 3-1 by Chinese team Invictus Gaming in the final. In November 2012 Valve released a documentary following the event online for free featuring interviews with the teams and following them from the preliminary stages through to the finale.
The International 2013
Valve announced The International 2013 on April 25, 2013. It was again hosted at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle from August 7 to 11. The first team to be invited were the defending champions, Invictus Gaming. Sixteen teams participated, thirteen of which received invitations, and the final three being decided in two qualifying tournaments and a match at the start of the tournament. On May 6, it was announced that an interactive compendium would be available for purchase, detailing and cataloging the progression of The International, in addition to allowing for extensive interactivity to be made. A quarter of the revenue from the compendium was added to the original $1.6 million prize pool for the tournament, thereby extending the winnings of the participating teams. Via the sales of interactive compendiums, The International reclaimed its previous title as the largest prize pool in electronic sports history, exceeding the two million dollar prize pool from the League of Legends Season 2 World Championship. The total prizepool awarded to the winners was $2,874,381. KCPQ news anchor Kaci Aitchison acted as a host to The International 2013 and provided behind-the-scenes commentary and interviews with professional players and analysts. The International 2013 was viewed by over one million concurrent online viewers with many utilizing live streaming websites such as Twitch.tv.
The International 2014
On March 31, 2014, Valve announced The International 2014, which would take place from July 18 to July 21 at the KeyArena, which is a venue with a significantly larger capacity than Benaroya Hall from the previous two years. Unlike the previous three events, there would be three tiers for admissions, including general admission, floor seating and VIP passes. For The International 2014, eleven teams would receive direct invites, with an additional four spots determined by regional qualifiers taking place between May 12 and May 25. The sixteenth spot would be determined by a wild card qualifier between the runners-up from the regional competitions. The tickets for the event were sold out within an hour of going on sale on April 4, 2014.
The prize pool for the tournament broke records for being the largest in eSports by reaching the $10,000,000 (USD) mark on June 27, almost three weeks prior to the start of the tournament. At the end of the tournament, eight Dota 2 players became the highest ranking players in terms of prize money won, surpassing the highest ranking player at the time: StarCraft II player Lee "Jaedong" Jae-dong. All 5 members of champion team Newbee became the top 5 highest ranking players in terms of prize money won and Chen "Hao" Zhihao became the highest ranking player at that time.
This year's prize pool distribution as of 07/20/14 is as follows:
The primary medium for The International coverage is through the Internet. Throughout each year, tournament coverage is done by a selection of online gaming and electronic sports organizations who provide live streaming, commentary and articles surrounding games in the progress, similar to sports commentators and analysts. On July 17, 2014, Valve announced, however, that the coverage of The International Dota 2 Championships 2014 (TI4) will be presented in collaboration with ESPN on its live multi-screen sports network, ESPN3. In addition, an exclusive show previewing the final match will be presented on ESPN2 on Sunday at 8:30 pm Pacific. Live access to ESPN2 is also available on digital platforms via WatchESPN.
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- 18 Jul 2014, Valve Press Release, International Dota 2 Championships on ESPN Networks, Steam