Esports showpiece set to land at Arena Birmingham

Venue management company the NEC Group has claimed a hosting coup with Arena Birmingham to stage the first Dota 2 Major and ESL One esports event ever to be held in the UK.

ESL One Birmingham, powered by Intel, will be held in the English city from May 25-27. The NEC Group, which manages Arena Birmingham, said it landed the hosting rights following a “fierce pitch” between three ESL territories that have never hosted Dota 2 Majors before.

The event will see 12 world-class Dota 2 teams battle it out for their share of 1,500 qualifying points for The International 8, plus a prize pool of $1m (£717,000/€809,000). Six of the 12 teams will be directly invited to participate, while the other six teams will be selected through online qualifiers open to teams in North America, South America, Europe, CIS, Southeast Asia and China.

“This is a dream come true for the ESL UK team and a fantastic win for the UK scene,” James Dean, managing director at ESL UK, said. “Dota 2 was the very first tournament we ran just after starting up in 2012.  We are honoured to have this opportunity and hope to make the Dota 2 community extremely proud. We look forward to being an integral part of the success of this event, and to the potential of having ESL One back in Birmingham next year.”

Birmingham has already hosted other ESL UK events, including the ESL Arena, the largest esports activation ever held in the UK to date. Held at EGX 2017 at Birmingham’s NEC, 80,000 gamers had the opportunity to witness national and European game-play over four days.

May’s ESL One Birmingham event will feature a wider festival celebrating Dota 2, as well as other fan engagement initiatives.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands region, said: “Birmingham is renowned for major sporting events such as the World Indoor Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games, so we very much look forward to welcoming the Dota 2 community.  As the second largest city in the UK, Birmingham has a huge amount to offer and hosting the UK’s first Dota 2 Major adds to the city’s fascinating history.”

Image: NEC Group