Rogers Arena is the home of the Vancouver Canucks, concerts, comedy shows, professional wrestling, and pretty much every other type of event you can think of.
Come this August, it will host what may be the biggest event you’ve probably never heard of — the The International Dota 2 Championships.
Dota 2 is an esports game where teams of five competitors try and destroy their opponent’s bases, all for a multi-million dollar prize. Last year, the total prize money for the event was almost $25 million.
The week-long event is usually held in Seattle’s Key Arena, which is currently undergoing renovations.
The final two nights of the week-long event are already sold out.
“If it wasn’t one of the fastest sellouts for something like this, it was up there,” Jeff Stipec of Canucks Sports and Entertainment said. “The sellout was measured in minutes, not hours.”
Come August don’t be surprised to see fans strolling around downtown Vancouver dressed in costumes as their favourite Dota 2 characters, says DOTA 2 coordinator Vivian Chung.
“Everybody who’s been to the event usually has a lot of lanyards and pins and stuff, you will see a lot of people in the same attire, people wearing Dota shirts,” she said.
Just as in conventional sports, esports competitors start young and spend a lot of time practising before making the jump to competitive gaming.
“I like to compare the age range for esports to the same age range that you would see for competitive figure skating, where they jump in as early as 15, 16 years old at world level and then you usually see them retire by their mid-to-late 20s,” Justin Simpao of the UBC eSports Association said.
Simpao compares this event to some of the other biggest sporting events in the world.
“I like to compare it to sort of the Super Bowl of esports.” Simpao said.
If you didn’t realize how big the event is, you’re not alone. Stipec said officials with Canucks Sports and Entertainment didn’t know either.
“When we first started exploring this opportunity I didn’t realize how big it was,” he said.
“If you go and watch the finals from last year, there’s champagne and confetti and tears. It’s a big event…it’ll really give us an opportunity to showcase Rogers Arena and the city of Vancouver.”