The International: History in details


The International is the biggest tournament in the history of e-sports, which has been going on for 5 years and is growing bigger each time. Its prize pool is growing with it. In the first year of the event, the prize pool accounted for about $1.5 million, while this year $15 million are considered to be an okay prize. Let us recall how this huge e-sports holiday started and look at some details of the past Internationals. 


How it all started:

Millions of dollars in prizes is a common thing in e-sports these days. However, at the dawn of this sphere, no one could have dreamt of such prizes

Up to 2010 computer sports scene was mostly dominated by strategic games from Blizzard and  by Counter-Strike 1.6 shooter by Valve. However, 5 years ago Dota 2 was released together with League of Legends. These games were about to tilt the balance in e-sports and win the hearts of millions of fans. MOBA games have become the leaders of e-sports and  tournaments like The International and LCS only sealed the deal.


4 years ago The International I triggered unimaginable emotions within the e-sports community, and became one of the largest event in the history of electronic sports. The tournament was held within GamesCom exhibition in Cologne and offered more than $1 million in prizes. The strongest teams were invited, together with the most famous analysts and commentators.


There’s no need to remind you who received that first paycheck from Gabe Newell’s hands. If you witnessed that victory, those intense finals, that joy, then you must know that the first ever winner of The International was Natus Vincere. Even in spite of the increased competition and overall level of the teams, that victory was the most awaited and the toughest one. Our team was on everyone’s lips and the fame went even beyond e-sports community. 


Where The International took place:

Key arena is a comfortable sports center. However, there are tons of similar arenas in big cities all over the world
To cut the long story short:


  • The International 2011 was hosted in Cologne, Germany, at GamesCom 2011 (from 17 August to 21 August 2011)
  • The International 2012 was hosted in Seattle, USA, at Benaroya Hall (from 26 August to 2 September 2012)
  • The International 2013 was hosted in Seattle, USA, at Benaroya Hall (from 3 August to 12 August 2013) 
  • The International 2014 was hosted in Seattle, USA, at Key Arena (from 18 July to 12 July 2014)


While the first tournament of the series took place in Cologne, all the rest were held in Seattle. The choice of the city is obvious, since Valve’s headquarters is situated nearby, in Belleview. Besides, the city is beautiful as well, with lots of things to see and places to visit. Another thing is the area. It is well known that Dota 2 is only popular in Europe (no.1 game in CIS region) and China, however, flying all the way across the world is quite expensive. If we look at players’ and fans’ comments, they suggest hosting the tournament each year in a different city, preferable in Europe, so that all the Asian and European viewers could visit the event. As for Americans, they must be tired from it, having watched it 4 consecutive years.  


Seattle is perfect in terms of comfort and convenience. Though, it is quite far away from most of the Dota 2 fans


A multifunctional sports center Key Arena can host up to 18 000 people. It is conveniently located in the very center of the city. Apart from Dota 2 competitions, the place also holds basketball tournaments. “Seattle Supersonics” from National Basketball League used to play here.


The cheapest ticket from Moscow to Seattle would cost you 49 000 rubles, which is about 1200 dollars or 1000 euro. The same will cost you to get there from Kiev.  In 15 hours and 10 minutes you will fly 8396 km. Thus, transferring the event to Europe is a pressing question for fans. However, it is easier for the game developers to host it close by.

Hotels near Key Arena (prices were taken from for the date of the article):
  • Inn at Queen Anne: 200 m to Key Arena (average suite price - $302)
  • Mediterranean Inn: 200 m ($381)
  • MarQueen: 400 m ($331)
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Seattle Downtown: 400 m ($420)
  • Hyatt House Seattle/Downtown: 500 m ($334)
  • Best Western Plus Executive Inn ($275)
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Seattle: 700 m ($570)
  • Seattle Pacific: 800 m ($288)
  • Hyatt Place Seattle Downtown: 800 m ($260)
  • Four Points by Sheraton: 800 m ($302)
  • The Inn At El Gaucho: 900 m ($257)
  • Five: 1,2 km ($296)
  • Kings Inn: 1,3 km ($197)
  • The Warwick Seattle: 1,4 km ($316)
  • Seattle Marriott Waterfront: 1,4 km ($485)


The International winners:

This is what many professional players dream of. But only few will hold this in their hads


Natus Vincere was the only team to participate in 3 finals, moreover, these were 3 consecutive finals. In 2011 our team beat EHOME, in 2012 was defeated by iG, and two years ago nearly won, yet still lost to The Alliance, who by the way didn’t make it to this year’s main event.


All teams, which won The International:


  • 2011: UkraineNatus Vincere
  • 2012: ChinaInvictus Gaming
  • 2013: SwedenThe Alliance
  • 2014: ChinaNewBee


While in other titles one year doesn’t change much, in Dota 2 a winning team can hit rock bottom within only one season. Previous The International winner Newbee have not won any significant tournament since then. However, Valve’s policy doesn’t change and last year’s winner is always invited to the next event. For the past achievements, so to speak.


All of the finals:


UkraineNatus Vincere VS ChinaEHOME (2011 grand-finals)



UkraineNatus Vincere VS ChinaiG (2012 grand-finals)



UkraineNatus Vincere VS SwedenAlliance (2013 grand-finals)



ChinaNewbee VS ChinaVici Gaming (2014 grand-finals)



 The International exposure:

Own analysts, own caters, own audience and sponsors. How is e-sports worse than traditional sports?

If we don’t count The International 4 being broadcasted on ESPN, MGT Europe and CCTV and people, directly visiting Seattle to watch, then the even was seen by more than 20 million people. Such a massive audience is a result of clever advertising and huge prize pool. However, The International 2014 is not a record-breaker, since last year’s LoL championship watched more than 27 million people.


These figures can be compared to the viewership of a central game of the Champions League. For instance, 20 million were watching Real Madrid vs Barcelona game in the spring of 2015.


The International prize pool:

As the fans say, Compendium is a trifle. Though, this trifle find a quick sale

It is said to be bad to count other people’s money, though it is interesting. Especially if it is concerned with a championship like The International. The prize pool of the first two did not exceed 2 million. However, starting from the fourth one, it went up due to financial injections from fans. In 2014 the prize pool escalated to $10 million, and is estimated to break the record in 2015, exceeding $15 million. The growth is largely attributed to Compendium, which is a book for fans, containing predictions, tournament info and other things. 25% of all money from Compendium purchases goes directly to the tournament’s prize pool.  


The International has spoiled professional teams. Now a Dota 2 tournament with $100-200 thousand prize pool doesn’t interest anyone. And even smaller championships are gone at all. Having an event, capable of granting a life of ease to its winners, might be a good thing. However, the competition among tournaments and their spectacularity suffers. Let’s hope the new majors from Valve will redress this situation.

Prize pools of all The Internationals:
  • The International 2011: $1,6 million
  • The International 2012: $1,6 million
  • The International 2013: $2,8 million
  • The International 2014: $10,9 million


The International 2015

The International can become a great show. However, Valve lag behind Riot in their "coolness", since Riot organize their events at huge football stadiums


The International 2015 will go on from 3 August to 8 August at Key Arena. It is the second time the event will take place at Key Arena, after being held at Benaroya Hall for 2 years straight. Tickets for the event were sold out in only 6 minutes, therefore, full house is guaranteed.


For the first time in its history, 3 CIS teams will be playing on The International (, Team Empire и Natus Vincere), with a potential to make it even 4, should Vega Squadron make it through the Wild Card competition. As for the three, first two received a direct invite, while Natus Vincere had to battle in the qualifiers. Nevertheless, if two years ago such a presence would have secured winning spots for some of the CIS teams, this time it is literally of no help, since the competition between professional teams is higher than ever before.


At the moment The International 2015 prize pool is $14,4 million. Undoubtedly, this is the biggest prize pool in the history of e-sports, unbeatable even for LCS. The International 2015 games will probably be broadcasted in local cinemas all around the world, while its online audience will beat the last year’s record.

What to expect:
  • Intensity of emotions and unreal struggle
  • Interesting and fierce finals
  • Record viewership
  • Natus Vincere games
  • Opening ceremony and aegis handing to the winners
Main questions to be answered:
  • Will Na'Vi be able to show the same performance they did during the qualifiers?
  • Will there be any surprises from Na`Vi or other teams?
  • How can The International 2015 surprise us?
  • Will there be full house at Key Arena?
  • What will the total prize pool be?
  • Will Vega be able to make it to the main event? 
  • In three of the past finals, there has been at least one Chinese team. Will we see one this time?
AuthorP0s1t1v3 Date25 June 2015, 18:46 Views1192 Comments0
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