WASHINGTON, D.C. — The nation’s capital braved the cold and bundled up for its first Dota 2 Minor Sunday.
“When we first came here one of the biggest priorities was making sure the talent and players were warm,” Moonduck’s Nikki Elise — who was worried people wouldn’t show up — told The Daily Walkthrough. “We brought a bunch of hand warmers, told people to dress appropriately and the Armory had heaters blasting.”
The Minor, which awarded 300 Pro Circuit points among the teams, was Moonduck’s first event in D.C. It saw a peak of 80,000 concurrent viewers, 2.4 million total views and 540,000 total unique views, according to Events DC. Team Secret took the top spot after defeating Vici Gaming 3-2 Sunday afternoon.
“There are not a lot of tournaments, at least for Dota, in North America,” Elise said. “To have it here, the capital, you see all the monuments. Everything that represents the United States.”
Hosting Captains Draft 4.0 in D.C. held a special meaning for herself and Moonduck’s Shannon Scotten. “DC, the letters, mean a lot to me and Shannon because we have DotaCinema and we created an esports team, Digital Chaos. It just made sense.”
D.C. has been aggressively pushing for esports, and Events DC’s Max Brown said previously meeting Scotten at The International in Seattle, Wash., and some good timing helped make the event happen. Both Brown and Elise wished they’d had a bit more breathing room to pull things together, though.
“I wouldn’t say it came out of nowhere, but when you’re working with sponsors and planning and logistics” the Dota pro circuit announcement “was very last minute,” Elise said.
“When you find out at this date that you’re getting a Minor and then Valve says ‘This is the date you get,’ and then you’re like ‘Omg, I only have a couple months to plan a LAN.’ It usually takes more time than that,” Elise continued. She was happy with what Moonduck was able to accomplish on the squeezed time frame. “For the short notice we had, I think we pulled it together and made it happen, made the players happy. Our audience seems very happy.”
Brown’s issue was the toughness of the Minor’s proximity to the holiday season.
“We want to do more marketing at the front end and get a better runway to get more visibility and more people here. Next year, fingers crossed, we’ll get this event and be at the new arena in Ward 8,” Brown said.
The 4,000-plus seat arena Brown mentioned is under construction, and Events DC’s goal is to position the capital as the premiere venue on the East Coast for esports events.
Elise was excited by the prospect of the new arena. The East Coast “opens up the opportunity for a lot of people in North America to attend an event aside from The International, which is typically a West Coast-based tournament.”
The MGM at National Harbor, Md., is a potential competitor to Events DC. It’s new and a 20-minute drive from the city. It also recently hosted Rocket League’s World Championship.
Although Psyonix worked with MGM and not Events DC, Brown didn’t seem phased.
“We distinguish ourselves from the MGMs and the Barclays. These are just venues, folks waking up every day and saying, ‘Hey, here’s some content let’s fill it,'” Brown argued to TheDW. “We’ve actually developed a strategy around esports. We’ve partnered with Moonduck, we’ve sponsored NRG [Esports]. No venues do this. We’re broader than a venue. We’re a strategic content enabler and venue provider. That’s what we do every day around esports. People in the esports world want to work with people who understand it. They don’t just want suits coming to them and saying, ‘Come to our venue.’ That’s basically what MGM is and we’re not.”
Brown insisted more esports in the capital means a better D.C. economy overall — encouraging tourism, development, tax revenue and a sense of community. Events DC is opening up two internships for its summer program specifically for esports, according to Brown. He also said to stay tuned for “a big event” Events DC is planning during the “end of spring” involving esports.
He’s not concerned about Events DC’s esports goals being hampered by the World Health Organization adding “Gaming Disorder” to its list of addictions for 2018. The Entertainment Software Association, which is based in D.C., strongly urged WHO to reconsider the designation in its final report. WHO recently hit back at critics of the designation.
“People need to exercise moderation in anything they do. Food’s a hazard, but we don’t stop eating,” Brown said. “Anything you do in excess is bad, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it in moderation.”