S'pore to host Dota 2's The International e-sports tournament, with multimillion-dollar prize pot

SINGAPORE – Singapore is set to host the latest edition of the world’s largest e-sports tournament by prize money, with potentially tens of millions of dollars at stake.

American video game developer Valve announced on Sunday night (May 22) that its 11th annual The International championship tournament for the popular free-to-play PC game Dota 2 will be held here in October.

This marks the first time the event is being held in a South-east Asian country, after previous editions were hosted in North America, Europe and China.

In response to queries, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) told The Straits Times it provided grant support for the event but declined to reveal the amount due to business confidentiality.

“As we welcome more visitors back to Singapore, e-sports and sports events will continue to be an integral part of STB’s strategy to bring in quality events and visitors,” said STB executive director for sports and wellness Ong Ling Lee.

“Popular international e-sports competitions such as the 11th edition of Dota 2 The International augment our ambition to be premier e-sports destination in the region.”

Ms Ong added that e-sports events can also help build affinity for Singapore as a travel destination among younger audiences and potentially drive repeat visitorship in the long term.

Further details on the event, such as the exact dates and prize money, have yet to be announced, but the prize pool will almost certainly be crowdfunded by Valve through the sale of digital “battle passes”, as in previous years.

Battle passes offer players rewards like in-game cosmetic items and emoticons for playing the game and completing challenges.

Last year’s event, which was held in Romania’s capital city, Bucharest, featured a record US$40 million ($55 million) prize pool. Russia’s Team Spirit emerged champions and took home US$18.2 million, with the rest of the pot split between the teams in second to 18th place.

Mr Nicholas Khoo, co-founder of the Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association (Scoga), said being picked to host The International will elevate Singapore’s standing as an e-sports hub.

“Singapore has been on a bit of a roll right as far as world championships are concerned and we’ve had quite a few in the past few years,” he said.


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