Next weekend, 25th to 27th of May, the UK will be host to its first Major DOTA 2 event in the history of esports. This is being hosted at the Arena Birmingham, and will look to fill its 15,800 capacity with DOTA 2 fans supporting their teams during the ESL One Birmingham 2018 competition. The main sponsor for this event is Intel.
ESL is considered the biggest esports dedicated company in the world as it hosts many top competitions throughout the world, with enough money in prizes to run a small country. For example the ESL One Birmingham will have a prize pool of $1,000,000 which 12 teams of 5 players will compete for as well as 1,500 DOTA Pro Circuit points towards The International 2018 (which is the actual biggest esports event in the world, with last year breaking records of $24,687,919 in prizes at the final).
The first six teams for ESL One Birmingham 2018 will be automatically invited to the competition unless they change rosters but the next six teams must be chosen through online qualifications and is open to teams across each continent.
During the event week itself, there will be two stages for these teams. Group stages, where the teams are placed into groups of 4 and this is done backstage. The 3 group winners play a “best of 1” match to determine the first 2 teams to directly qualify for the semifinals. This was done to stop teams from losing on purpose in the final game, as it is traditionally played as a “best of 3” and would allow teams to pick their opponents in the semifinals. The team which comes in third during this decider will join the 3 runner-ups from the group stage.
Semi-finals and finals will still use the “best of 3” setup, and this will be done live at the Arena Birmingham in front of thousands live, and hundreds of thousands across the world via online streaming.
This event would usually have more teams competing, but according to the ESL One website, this was originally planned to be held in Manila, Philippines but needed to change venues, and after speaking to top players in the teams, they decided to hold in here in the UK. As the teams will be competing in China just before this, they decided there wasn’t enough time to hold the group stages over 3 days, instead changing it to 2 days, thus less teams.
If all this sounds interesting, tickets are available here at £19 for a day ticket, or £39 for the weekend, with Weekend Plus and Premium tickets already sold out.
If you want to watch it in the comfort of your own home, you’ll find the official stream on Facebook, and unofficially there is bound to be hundreds of Twitch streamers doing their own commentary (known as casting) as well.