US Immigration Services Recognize League of Legends as a Legitimate Sport

Speaking to GameSpot recently, Riot Games e-sports manager Nick Allen revealed that high-level League of Legends players can now be awarded a visa similar to those obtained by traditional pro athletes. He told GameSpot that the company had convinced US immigration services to recognize League of Legends as a professional sport and simplify the visa process. They apparently listened. The first person to take advantage of this change was Canadian player Danny "Shiphtur" Le, who was initially unable to compete this spring because of problems related to obtaining a work permit.

Riot Games E-sports VP Dustin Beck also confirmed the change to Polygon. "This is a watershed moment," he said. "It validates e-sports as a sport. Now we have the same designation as the NBA or NHL or other professional sports leagues."

The change allows non-American players join US teams, according to Beck. He described getting this whole thing approved as a "long process." The thing that won the government agency's approval was Riot's ability to prove that e-Sports players can actually make a living playing the sport.

"A lot of people have been dismissive of it because they don't understand the scope of this," he said. "Our viewership numbers are stronger than 80 or 90 percent of the sports covered on ESPN."

Source: The Verge


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