Blame the rising Covid rates for this one.
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This weekend, Valve announced that they are suspending sales of tickets for The International 2021 Dota 2 tournament. The reason, as cited in a new blog post, is due to the rising Covid rates in Romania.

Back in July, Valve announced that The International 2021 would be held in Bucharest, Romania. This was the second venue announced for the tournament, with the first choice being Stockholm, Sweden. At the time, the Swedish Sports Federation voted against accepting any esports into the sports federation. Furthermore, there were also some potential issues related to COVID-19 restrictions in Sweden that prompted this decision to change venue locations. How's that for irony?

Given that The International 2021 will begin on October 7 (or October 12 if you just want the main event), it may be a little late for a lot of fans to cancel or get refunds for things like hotel bookings and flights.

The full message from Valve about this change can be read below.

We have been carefully evaluating the continued rise of Covid rates in Romania, as well as the resulting introduction of new local restrictions in Bucharest. To ensure the safety of all players, talent, and production staff participating in the event, we have decided to refund all ticket sales for The International 2021.

We wanted nothing more than to welcome fans live to the event, but we can no longer do so in a way that allows us to prioritize the health and well-being of both audience members and participants. Those who purchased tickets will be issued a full refund automatically.

The International 2021 will begin as planned on October 7, and we look forward to welcoming the best Dota teams in the world to the stage and sharing the experience online with millions of fans around the world.
In related news, The International Compendium just went up a couple of days ago. This is once again a way in which fans and viewers will be able to earn some free rewards. This year's Compendium is just 15 levels long, with rewards being offered on every odd level earned beginning with level 1. Levels about 15 will begin to reward repeats. You will earn a level per every 1,000 points.

Players will be able to earn points and levels for their Compendium by doing things like filling out all 40 tournament predictions, voting for a film in the Short Film Contest, filling out an entire bracket, and purchasing at least one Talent autograph which begin at $0.99 (USD). You will earn more points by making correct predictions on brackets, making correct predictions at the start of games streamed in-game or on Twitch, and more.

It looks as though a lot of the rewards are centered around loading screen unlocks.

  • Level 1: Teleport Level 1 & TI10 Compendium Emoticon
  • Level 3: The International 2021 HUD
  • Level 5: The International 2021 Loading Screen I
  • Level 7: The International 2021 Loading Screen II
  • Level 9: Teleport Level 2
  • Level 11: The International 2021 Loading Screen III
  • Level 13: The International 2021 Loading Screen IV
  • Level 15: The International 2021 Loading Screen V
At present, the current prize poll is sitting just over $40 million (USD).