Valve has announced that the $40 million Dota 2 tournament The International 2021 is likely being forced out of Sweden. What does that mean for Counter-Strike’s $2,000,000 PGL Major, which was set to take place in Stockholm a few months later?
The Swedish Sports Federation’s most recent ruling seemingly rejected the notion that esports qualifies as a sport, something that prevents Dota 2 and Counter-Strike pros from claiming elite athlete status on visa applications. The same bureaucratic obstacles that are causing issues for TI10 could impact the biggest CSGO tournament of the last two years.
Currently, PGL has announced no changes for the $2,000,000 CSGO major, which is scheduled to take start on October 23 with 24 teams in attendance. The PGL Major will be the first Valve-organized CSGO LAN since the StarLadder Berlin Major in 2019.
Swedish esports has come so far, without any support from sports associations nor government. When we finally get to host the biggest esports tournament in the world we fail to meet the moment.
— Ninjas in Pyjamas 🇸🇪 (@NIP) June 22, 2021
Dota 2’s TI10 issues are sudden and serious, but Valve and PGL are currently trying to sort them. Valve is looking to get The International classified as an elite sporting event and if successful, it would likely see the CSGO major reclassified as well. Regardless, it’s disappointing to see a country with so much history in Counter-Strike potentially rejecting one of the biggest events in the game’s history.
Several outcomes are possible, but tournament organizers PGL will likely choose one of two options. The first will be to work with the Swedish Sports Federation and Minister of the Interior to get Counter-Strike recognized as a legitimate sport. Valve noted that it had been working with Swedish tourism bureaus such as Visit Stockholm to organize the event. If things are sorted, it would allow CSGO players to apply for special visas that would allow them to compete in Sweden.
The other option would be to replicate whatever The International 10 does. Valve is shopping around for a new host for the Dota 2 tournament in case things don’t pan out with Stockholm. Other sports and esports events have happened around the world, so it’s possible that Valve can find a new landing spot for the event in short order.
Valve could take the extra step and package the events together for new host cities. Both tournaments represent the largest prize pools in either games’ history. While not the most practical solution, it would certainly attract the attention of tourism boards. This puts PGL in a precarious position but both games are in a scary spot at the moment with their biggest events being at risk.