Because it's important right now to find a silver lining in the black clouds that have rolled in across the world, let's look at the good news for the upcoming ESL One Dota 2 majors that had been scheduled for both Los Angeles and Birmingham, England.
This morning ESL and game publisher Valve announced the decision to reimagine the events into expanded online tournaments. Originally, the ESL One Los Angeles and Birmingham 2020 events had been sheduled to have players competing in traditional brick-and-mortar venues—something that's no longer possible with the world self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an online post on its website, ESL wrote: "It’s the best, and more importantly, the safest decision for players, coaches, team staff, fans, and our event crews while still keeping the core of esports alive. We are happy that our sport can go on even in the most difficult of times and hope to bring you some entertainment and joy during the quarantine."
The upside is that both the ESL One Los Angeles and Birmingham 2020 competitions will now feature more teams and a schedule that expanded from a weekend event before a live audience.
The Los Angeles competition was originally scheduled to take place over three days at the 6,300-capacity Shrine Auditorium. The flexibility provided by the new online format means Dota 2 fans can now look forward to watching 34 teams from five regional leagues battle things out in a round-robin format from March 28-April 19. That will be followed by playoffs.
Running from May to June, with final details still being ironed out, ESL One Birmingham will work on a similar mode where regional-team leagues will be the focus rather than a single tournament.
Other positive news is that the amount of first place prize money up for grabs has grown from US$300,000 to $375,000 for ESL One Los Angeles and from US$300,000 to $330,000 for ESL One Birmingham.
There is no word yet on how the new format will impact the way that Dota Pro Circuit points are given.
Meanwhile, ESL and Valve continue to work out how those with tickets for the L.A. and Birmingham events will be refunded.