With only three days remaining until The International 2019 gets underway, it seems the scalpers are coming out in full force, even being brave enough to publicly post their hundreds of tickets.
When tickets for TI9 went on sale in the China region on the Damai.cn platform, it took mere seconds for all to sell out. In late May of this year we shared a story of the Damai ticket sales which went on sale first with an “early bird” sale which was reserved for Dota Plus subscribers before a “normal sale” window. What was noted in that article (which can be found below) was that the entire batch of some 26,000+ tickets were all sold out in under a minute – which left no tickets available to the normal, non-Dota Plus buyers.
Fast forward to yesterday with TI quickly approaching – a post on Reddit has highlighted the scalper situation of the ticket sales. As can be seen in the link below, the scalpers have hundreds of tickets for TI9, all of which will definitely be sold at a much higher price than they paid – and sold to those that were unable to reach the front of the queue to make a ticket purchase via the website.
However, this is not the first time something like this has happened at a Valve event. While scalpers are always present in any major event with ticket sales, back in 2017 there was a massive uproar when The Kiev Major had its tickets sell out in less than 20-minutes. Fans of the game were quick to report the website having major issues and some even took to social media – adding that people were able to buy 50-200 tickets each, without a limit per purchase. There were many calls on social media for people to not purchase these tickets or support these scalpers but for the Dota 2 fans that desperately want to attend, sometimes there’s just no way around it.
A similar experience played out for fans attempting to purchase tickets for The International 2015, where unresponsive web pages and system crashes meant that it was highly likely that scalpers or bots had picked up more than a handful of the tickets.
Back to the present and it seems that there are reports of ticket numbers not matching the ticket number displayed on the app and in the transaction for TI9 tickets. Alongside this, it seems that Damai have also changed the app to no longer show a ticket number, almost as if they are trying to cover up the problem. Sources tell us that many people in the Chinese community have already begun to report Damai to the local government but there has currently been no official statement from Perfect World on the on goings. A few months back it came to light that Damai had essentially helped the scalpers, creating a separate link forthem to use and bypass the pre-sale code – and with more and more showing up on Weibo about this, it’s quickly becoming apparent that it needs to be dealt with.
While scalpers are always present in any event, it definitely puts pressure on Valve, once again, to streamline the ticket sale process for all their major events – and seeing as The International is such a massive event, it would make sense that they start there. A quick search on eBay brings up a selling with tickets for the final two days of TI9 at $2000 – a massive price hike on the original sale amount. With TI9 sporting a gigantic $32,000,000 prize pool, it would make sense for Valve to try to streamline the ticketing process – but as things stand, it looks like Damai are getting away with it for this year.