The United States Government has made quite a shocking announcement: it now officially recognises League of Legends players as pro athletes. This announcement came from Riot Games eSports manager Nick Allen while talking to GamesSpot.
The United States Government recognises League of Legends pro players as professional athletes, and award visas to essentially work in the United States under that title. This is groundbreaking for eSports. Now we can start looking at international players when they come over. It’s a much easier process because they’re actually recognised by the government. This is a huge thing.
This news allows League of Legends pros to acquire the same visas given to NBA (hand-ball), NFL (hand-egg) and NHL (hand-stick) players. However the process won’t be as easy as ABC or 123:
This is a lengthy process, we had a lot of people fighting for this, and it wasn’t something that happened overnight. This is constant back and forth of like, ‘Show us more proof, is this realistic’, and that sort of thing. Eventually it got to the point where they were like, ‘Okay, we have no reason to say no. This is legitimate’.
Obtaining these visas may be a lengthy process for international players that will require a lot of back and forth between Riot Games and the U.S. Government, but it’s really looking up for all League of Legends pros.
Riot Games are also due to host the League of Legends Season 3 Championship Finals on October 4th in LA, with the winner walking away with the Summoner’s Cup and $1 million in cash. I have to admit: I’ve never actually played League of Legends, and it actually looked a little boring before, but with this great news and its rise in popularity perhaps it’s time to give it another chance?