ESL One Mumbai is set to begin on April 16 with eight teams fighting, down from 12 after a tournament schedule clash forced five of the initial competitors to re-think their travel plans.
For the first Dota 2 LAN organized on a large scale in India, the disappointment might have already smothered the anticipation. Ninjas in Pyjamas, Alliance, Gambit Esports, J.Storm and Chaos Esports Club have all withdrawn last week from the tournament. Some of them are booked to play in the OGA Dota PIT Minor which starts a day after ESL One Mumbai ends, and the travel distance would have got them arriving at the Minor late and with a bit of a jet lag. Their decision proved to be absolutely on spot as Jet Airways, one of the largest Indian airline companies, cancelled on Friday 12 all its international flights.
“All of Jet’s long-haul services – including London, Paris and Amsterdam – were suspended from Thursday night until Monday,” CNN Business reports. Jet Airways has already cancelled thousands of domestic as well, which directly impacts the local Dota 2 fans who booked a flight to Mumbai with the company in discussion. According to BBC News, Jet Airways is saddled with debts of more than $1bn and it’s on the verge of announcing bankruptcy.
ESL One Mumbai won’t open the doors for the live audience until Friday, April 19. However, for the teams attending and for the talent expected to arrive in Mumbai, the incident got some of them stuck in different airports looking for alternative connections.
Aleksandar “bukka” Bukurecki, a Dota 2 observer and a programmer for layerthCG, a tech company focused on developing in-game broadcast features Tweeted this Saturday: ”Was planning on flying Jet Airways to Mumbai but I’ve been foiled. ;(“ He is not the only person from the production crew who had to add some extra hours spent in airports to the already 18 hours travel time from Europe to Mumbai.
According to the team coach, Murielle “Kips” Huisman, compLexity Gaming have also dealt with troubles finding connections from Dubai to Mumbai.
Although we are a day before the group stage should start, ESL One haven’t released yet the exact schedule for the matches. The eight participants are split in two groups of four teams each and will have to play in a best-of-three GLS format to determine the playoffs seeding.