Natus Vincere enters The International with the help of a senator
Gamers from all over the world have traveled to Seattle, Washington to participate in the biggest “Dota 2” tournaments, but first they had to face the difficult challenge of obtaining a visa.
The Natus Vincere “Dota 2” team has been a fan favorite in past tournaments, but a denied visa application almost stopped them from entering The International 2015 event. Russian “Dota 2” player Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev applied for his visa at the U.S. Consulate in Moscow so he could join his team in the United States.
Butaev’s application was denied because the immigration officers were unfamiliar with the “Dota 2” tournament. This was the second time the professional gamer’s application was denied on these grounds, making it more difficult to obtain a visa.
Since Butaev and his team were in a bind, Valve, the tournament’s organizer, made it their mission to help him get into the United States. Valve employee Erik Johnson told GosuGamers the interesting plan that they had in mind:
“Our current strategy was to involve the offices of Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) to see if they can make it clear to the consulate that there is a very good reason to admit him into the country.”
S U C C E S S! Big thanks to Valve and US Senator Maria Cantwell. Your help was essential! Sonneiko has his visa!
— Moritz Zimmermann (@MooseWD) July 16, 2015
On July 16, Natus Vincere’s Director of Photography Moritz Zimmerman announced that Senator Cantwell was able to help Butaev obtain his visa. Is getting a gamer a visa to play in a “Dota 2” tournament really worth the senator’s time?
The International is one of the biggest tournaments in e-sports, with this year’s prize pool at over $17 million. Since the tournament is so well funded, everyone that qualified will receive a big payout. The team that comes in first place will receive over $6 million, and even the team that comes in last is looking at over $50,000.
How can visa problems get fixed easier in the future? Should Valve move their tournament to another country next year? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.