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Dota 2 Major coming to Singapore

The tournament will be held here for the first time in June, with a prize pool of $1.36 million

E-sports fans watching the Dota 2 World Pro Invitational last Saturday. The US$500,000 (S$678,250) event was held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium over the weekend. PHOTO: ONE ESPORTS

Singapore is set to welcome the world's top 16 Dota 2 teams for the first time next June, with the teams to play for a prize pool of US$1 million (S$1.36 million) at a critical juncture of their season.

Announced last Wednesday, the first Dota 2 Singapore Major will be organised by One Esports with the support of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and e-sports company PGL.

Dota 2 is a five-on-five multiplayer online battle arena video game and one of the world's most popular and lucrative e-sports titles, averaging about 400,000 monthly players globally.

Of the 40 top-earning e-sports professionals to date, only one is not a Dota 2 player.

One Esports is the e-sports arm of Singapore-based mixed martial arts organisation One Championship. It held its first e-sports event in Japan in October.

The June 20-28 Singapore Major will be the last of five major tournaments on next year's Dota 2 professional circuit that offer qualifying points for e-sports' most lucrative tournament, The International (TI).

This year's TI in August featured a record US$34 million in prize money. The winning five-man team, OG, took home US$15 million.

One Esports chief executive Carlos Alimurung said next year's Singapore Major makes for exciting viewing as it is the season's last Major and will decide which teams secure their tickets to TI.

"Dota 2 is a huge game with a global audience. It also has an open ecosystem and community, so that made it a natural choice for us (to stage an event)," he said.

Ms Jean Ng, STB's executive director for attractions, entertainment and tourism concept development, said STB is seeing an increasing trend of tourists coming to Singapore for major e-sports events.

"From STB's point of view, I feel that we've been a little late to the game for e-sports. So we are quite happy to have the opportunity to test the appetite for travel (for e-sports) through the Singapore Major next year," she said.

Asked whether the Singapore Major will be an annual affair, Mr Alimurung said One Esports' commitment is only for next year's event and "we will take it from there".

One Esports held the US$500,000 Dota 2 World Pro Invitational in Singapore last weekend in a sort of dry run for the Singapore Major.

Watched by local and international fans at the 8,000-seat Singapore Indoor Stadium, Chinese team Vici Gaming defeated American rivals Evil Geniuses in Sunday's grand finals to take home the top prize of US$200,000.

E-sports recently featured for the first time at the SEA Games in the Philippines last month.

Six game titles were contested, with Singapore picking up a silver and bronze in Starcraft II and Hearthstone respectively.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2019, with the headline Dota 2 Major coming to Singapore. Subscribe