Before I start my argumentation I have to mention that I am from Bucharest, I am thrilled and hyped for TI to be held in my hometown, but the location chosen has a high chance to transform the event in a disaster.
I have participated to a lot of events on National Arena as an organizer or spectator, for sports, concerts and other events and I do not see how this venue can host an esport competition, especially something as huge as Dota TI.
First of all, yes the stadium is big, but it was never finished 100%. Even if it’s in use for several years, the reception was not done at 100% due to political reasons(hurry in inauguration), thus several major flaws appeared during the years and the overall feeling of the venue is ‘work in progress’
The stadium has a retractable roof, which means there is a rubber membrane that covers the pitch when is used, effective to cover the pitch, but on the sides, all the way around the stadium there is a huge portion that is not covered so the rain and wind blows…on spectators. The event is in October which usually is the most rainy month in Romania, there have been canceled concerts on National Arena due to rain before, I don’t see how an esport event will do better. Also it is very cold, which probably for players and stuff will not be a problem, but for the spectators in a stadium would be horrific. Usually in TI there are games a few hours a day, I do not see how can someone sit on the stadium for hours in a cold windy rainy day. Already a few times the membrane was changed because it collapsed due to heavy rain and all the water from the rain is falling on spectators due to poor design. Latest example: National Arena was one of the stadiums used in EURO2020, the Austrian national team was supposed to train here. Due to heavy rain, the pitch was flooded and the team had to move to another stadium in order to perform the training. This happened even if they knew well before that everything must be settled for the team to proper train here. You can sit there for 1-2 hours to watch a football game or attend a concert, you dance you warm up, but how can you stay in cold and rain for 8-9 hours everyday for a week or so?
The acoustic and video equipment of the stadium is very very bad, even if they proud themselves with big resources, it is very cheap trash materials used and very poor hifi quality. Here should not be a problem if Valve brings their own equipment and setup like in concerts.
There is no parking places at the stadium. One of the main flaws of this stadium is huge capacity with a few hundreds of parking places, usually reserved for staff and officials.
National arena is administrated by the local authorities, so in a very bureaucratic country like Romania, Valve should expect to do a lot of requests to local authorities just to ask for permissions, even minor things like pulling the roof must be approved well before. We had situations when football games had to be played under heavy rain, just because the organizers did not request the roof to be pulled with days/weeks before.
One of the biggest challenges is the so called ‘law 4’ famous law passed to prevent the hooligans in football. Unfortunately this law refers to ANY sport event held in Romania in an open or closed facility and it must be applied, thus some stupid regulations that do not apply for some sports must be followed to ensure the safety. Just a few quick examples, water bottles are not allowed on the venues, or umbrellas, or coins, or even keychains. So expect to come at the venue and buy everything from there. I really hope they will be flexible on this because is really stupid, but you never know. Basically is the police who makes sure this law is followed, so you never know how flexible they can be since does not depend on Valve or other authorities.
Another flaw of the stadium would be the staff facilities. I am pretty sure Valve have visited the venue before and agreed everything is okay, or at least hope so, but there are tens of teams all of them with big staff and a lot of equipment. I do not see how National Arena can provide such many private spaces, especially big ones that can accommodate a whole team+staff for example for the group stage. Yes there are lockers, conference rooms and offices, but I don’t think is close to enough.
In the end, the main issue who brought us here in the first place, the pandemic situation in Romania. The current number of cases/deaths are quite low in Romania, but let’s not forget the pandemic slows down in the summer and erupts in the autumn. The vaccination campaign in Romania works awfully. So far about 20% of the adult population got vaccinated, very low compared to other European countries. Even with the government giving incentives for vaccination, people don’t do it and now the government decided to sell 1,7milions vaccines to Denmark and around 1 million to Ireland. The Romanian vaccination manager already announced to prepare ourselves for the next wave which is going to come soon, probably in the fall.
I don’t know why they chose National Arena, yes it’s big, but it feels that an event such as TI would be much better in an enclosed arena and there where good options for that also in Romania. Bucharest major was held in an enclosed location and it was awesome, stadiums are not made for such prolonged events, even with a partial roof.
- The new EOTM Arena is fatally flawed and can’t be used for GvG in its current state. -details inside-
- Bucharest Survival Guide – TI Edition
- Bucharest Survival Guide – TI Edition
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