Dota 2: Support for British TI grows after ESL One Birmingham
Following the incredible success of ESL One Birmingham’s Dota 2 tournament, there have been fresh calls for the UK to be considered for Valve’s next iteration of The International, with some of the biggest names in esports lending their voices to the cause. With a CSGO Major having already taken place in London, it certainly makes sense for a nation with great infrastructure to be considered, and the response from fans to the live event itself may convince Valve to gift a TI to the UK one day.
The question was posed by JoinDota on Twitter in the wake of ESL One Birmingham, which was no doubt aided by the fantastic final Evil Geniuses and Team Secret delivered, but the UK crowd’s excellence is no secret itself, and far from limited to Dota. In many other games, including CSGO and even Smash Bros the UK is known for having one of the best atmospheres anywhere in esports, and it would make a lot of sense in some ways to test that with the ultimate event, TI.
"Like a mini-TI" - PPD
There are many challenges to that theory, and reasons why it would be a tough sell to Valve, not least the fact they are increasingly owned by Chinese money, or at least required to behave in a way that suits their best customers. Even if that is appeased by TI9 in Shanghai there will be calls for the event to return home to Seattle, and there are many other amazing arenas, including a swathe of dedicated esports ones, for Valve to pick from.
Other names in the replies included English commentator KillerPigeon and Esports Wales, pitching for an unlikely TI at the Millennium Stadium, but there is also a groundswell of fan support no doubt buoyed by how well Birmingham went off. Ninjas In Pyjamas captain PPD went as far as saying it was like a ‘mini-TI’ with the standard of play on show, so there can be no doubts that top teams are happy coming to, and playing in the UK generally, even with the occasional visa snafu.
With impressive crowd and stream numbers to boot, it will be easy to make a case for TI2020 or beyond to be TI Brum, or maybe TI London. The real question is whether Valve has the will or the ability long term to keep moving its flagship from nation to nation, or if it will settle back in Seattle once the ‘home’ arena is fully prepared for everything needed, and everyone in Dota, but if not the UK has proven it can put on a show to rival the best in esports.
Image: ESL/Helena Kristiansson