TI7 KeyArena Survival Guide

               The Main Event of The International 7 starts in less than 24 hours. Make the most of your experience with this point-by-point guide on typical TI policies at KeyArena. This information was gathered from multiple attendees of previous TIs. While there may be small changes to rules this year, the locations have not changed. If you have any doubts, err on the safe side or ask a staff member once you get to the venue. Good luck, and have fun!


On Monday, the doors open at 9:00am and the opening ceremonies start at 10:30am. For the rest of the week, the doors open at 9:30am and the games start at 10:20am.

Will-call ticket pickups start at 7:00am on Monday and 8:00am the rest of the week. If you arrive early, you should have plenty of time to pick up your badge before the event starts. KeyArena has confirmed that only the box office on the east side of the arena (near the lawn) will be open for will-call ticket pickups.

There are two main entrances to the arena: one along First Ave and one by the lawn. You have your choice of stairs or a ramp at either entrance. Follow the signs to the entrance doors and prepare to open your bag for a security check. Security may also use a metal detector wand or pat you down.

While Dota drawstring bags are typically the ‘bag’ of the swag bag, consider bringing your own backpack or purse instead. It’s hard to keep track of individual bags inside of the dark arena, and it’ll be nearly impossible to track down your bag if you misplace it or pick up a stranger’s by mistake. Bags are allowed into KeyArena, within reason. You should have no trouble with a backpack or regular purse, but don’t plan on bringing a huge duffel bag or all your luggage straight from the airport.

When you arrive at the arena, make sure you have your badge on you. You cannot get in unless you tap a valid badge against the door scanners. Your badges also allow you to register for in-game drops. Use this link or one of the available computers in the arena itself to connect your badge to your Steam account.

Unlike other events at KeyArena, TI does allow exiting and reentry. You need to tap your badge each time you leave or enter. If you’re coming back in, you have to go through the security check each time.

All the seating in KeyArena is general admission. Once you get in the door and you sit in a seat, it’s yours for as long as you have a way to claim it. Coordinate with friends or nearby fans to save seats while you leave to get food, run to the bathroom, or otherwise vacate the space.

Once you’re through the main doors, you’ll be on the concourse that encircles the entire arena. The concourse is actually about halfway up the seating area; the floor of the arena is significantly lower than where you enter. There’s no seating on the arena floor itself. That’s reserved for cameras, the caster desk, the player booths, and the interactive map. Once you’re in the arena, you’ll view the games on giant screens that hang in the center.

The best seats are right around or slightly below the space where you enter the arena. Too low and you’ll be stuck looking straight up at the games screen; too high and you will barely be able to see the players on the stage. If you want to get these seats, expect to be there before the broadcast starts each day. If you don’t get there until the second series of the day, don’t worry; you’ll still have a seat somewhere in the arena. But if you arrive late, don’t go row-by-row asking people in the best seats if a space is free. It’s rude, it’s distracting, and it’s far too common.

If you need accessible seating, talk to one of the staff members by the entrance. Staff will direct you to one of the appropriate sections. It’s a short, flat distance from the entrance to accessible seating, and since the arena floor is lower than the concourse, you’ll have a good viewpoint. The accessible area itself is an open space with ample room to maneuver or accommodate multiple mobility devices. If you have a friend or two going with you, they’ll be able to sit in banquet-style chairs in the accessible area. Staff can assist you with getting or removing these chairs.

You must have a valid seat or seating location. Standing in the aisles is not allowed, and staff will quickly clear out people who linger in the aisles.

Drinks and liquids are generally prohibited. Expect the TI swag bag to contain a reusable Dota water bottle. You can bring in the empty bottle and fill it up at one of the water fountains in the arena; you just can’t bring it in with something already in it.

Food is generally allowed in the arena for TI. You’ll have to get rid of any liquid food (like protein drinks) and you might be asked to finish eating first if you’re holding a giant, dripping burrito. However, if you have food packed away neatly in your bag, you shouldn’t have any issues bringing that into the arena.

Arena food is expensive and hard to eat for a few days straight. While you may want to splurge for nachos or coffee when you don’t feel like leaving the arena, make a note of outside options.

Food trucks hang out on the lawn side of the arena and sell higher-quality food than the arena at similar prices. They’re a reasonably quick alternative to stadium food for people who don’t want to stray too far from the arena. The neighborhood north of the arena has many highly rated restaurants, including Dick’s, The Melting Pot, Racha Thai and Asian Kitchen,  and Pagliacci Pizza.

If you’re looking for cheaper alternatives, check out Safeway  or Metropolitan Market Uptown . These are both grocery stores within two blocks of KeyArena where you can buy premade sandwiches and meals, snacks, or supplies to pack your own lunch.

There is no public internet access within KeyArena. Only those working the tournament, including those with press passes, receive the private WiFi password. Don’t bother asking for it, either; once the password gets out to hundreds of people, the WiFi is virtually unusable anyway.

There are multiple electrical outlets and charging stations across the arena and Seattle Center. Bring your own charger to be safe, and make sure a friend watches your seat while you stand by the charging area.

The general rules for KeyArena state that cameras and photography are not allowed. This rule is relaxed for TI. Small point-and-shoot cameras should get past security without any problems. Cameras with telephoto lenses, lenses larger than 3.5’’ / ~8.9cm, and interchangeable lenses are best left at home unless you have a press pass.

The Secret Shop is located in Fisher Pavilion on the lawn side of the arena. Last year, the pickup line for merchandise followed the path on the side of the lawn opposite the arena and went down a set of stairs. If you need an accessible path, go up the sidewalk on the side closer to the arena to the exit of the Secret Shop and let the staff know.

Place your order in advance at the Secret Shop with a Steam ID linked to a valid badge. During the payment process, you must register for an order pickup time. Slots start at 10:00am most days. The first 250 customers of the day will receive an additional gift, and those who spend more than $50, $100, $150, and $200 also receive special bonuses.

There is no storage for your merchandise in KeyArena. While you can bring your Secret Shop bag with you into the venue, you can end up with cramped legs or cranky seatmates if you try to stuff a huge merch bag into the space under your seat.

If you registered for the cosplay competition (which you can still do!) you should have received an email with information about the cosplayer Discord, Cosplay Area, and contest information. Check your spam folder or reach out to [email protected] if you do not see the email.

The Cosplay Area at TI will be in Fisher Pavilion (the same building as the Secret Shop). It will be open from Tuesday to Friday, starting around 10:00am for registered cosplayers. On Monday, it will open at 2:00pm. To get there, follow the sidewalk on the side closer to the arena (as though you were heading toward the exit of the Secret Shop). The Cosplay Area will have changing areas as well as a cosplay repair station with some emergency supplies. If you have specific requests for items, please contact Diana in the TI7Cosplay Discord.

Memey signs are a fan favorite at The International. KeyArena allows fans to bring small banners and signs that don’t obstruct the view of other people and don’t involve sticks (sorry, no running around the concourse with your favorite team’s flag on a giant pole).

Typical KeyArena guidelines say that signs must be no larger than 11″ x 17″ / ~28cm x 43cm, and there’s no reason to think this rule will change for TI.

The KeyArena Information Booths by sections 103 and 125 serve as the lost and found. Bring found items to these stations and check here for your missing stuff.