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League of Legends professional players can now get US athlete visas

Friday, 12th July 2013 21:18 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

League of Legends are now recognized as professional athletes by the US government and will all them to use a visa to compete in tournaments.

The news was provided to Gamespot by Riot Games eSports manager Nick Allen, who said the decision made by the government was accomplished via a “lengthy process” in which Riot had to prove the game was a legitimate sport.

“So the United States government recognizes League of Legends pro players as professional athletes and award visas to essentially work in the United States under that title,” said Allen. “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 recognized by the government. This is a huge thing.

“This was a lengthy process; we had a lot of people fighting for this. It wasn’t something that happened overnight.”

The League of Legends Season 3 World Championship takes place October 4 in California.

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53 Comments

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  1. For Blood

    Are you kidding me? This seriously has to be a joke.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Hcw87

    Hahaha, really? Athletes? Really need another name for it, Professional Gamer perhaps.

    This is bound to be made fun at by pretty much all mainstream media. Athlete just really do not fit into this. Even calling gaming a sport is reaching.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Ireland Michael

    The term professional athlete is only being used a a formality here, but that doesn’t change the fact that professional gaming is very much a sport.

    Professional chess is regularly considered a sport. So is professional darts. Snooker is another obvious example. These are all games based not on physical prowess, but on skill, mental work and coordination. How exactly is competitive gaming any different? The idea that sports require predominantly physical elements is a long outdated one.

    Anyway, must professional gamers are very physically healthy people. In some of the biggest leagues, rigorous exercise is pretty much mandated by team managers. A healthy body allows for a far healthier mind.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. freedoms_stain

    @3, the term athlete is usually reserved for people whose sports involve some form of athletic component, i.e. an element of track or field discipline.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Ireland Michael

    @4 The term is simply being used because there are systems in place for people involved in playing sports regarding visas and work. This is just a way for them to be (rightfully) be a part of that system. They are playing a sport after all… competitive gaming, Why shouldn’t they?

    Rewriting the laws would take a lot more time.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. For Blood

    @5

    I just invented a new sport, it’s called competitive toilet sitting. See anything can be a sport, but somethings, like gaming, should not be considered as such.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Ireland Michael

    @6 Why not?

    It takes high levels of skill to master, it is competitively played by people, professionals train and practise how to get better at them daily, and it it watched by millions of people. How exactly is that any different from any other sport that isn’t based on physical prowess?

    Sports are just competitive GAMES played at a professional level.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. For Blood

    @7

    See, this is exactly what is wrong with the world. Everyone wants to do less for more. People become famous and make money for being idiots i.e. anyone who makes dumb videos on Youtube for money or says something dumb and makes money for it. In this case, gaming considered a sport is just dumb. Wow, someone can move their fingers faster, whoopedeedoo. I think people who play sports shouldn’t even make as much money as they do. This will lead to untalented, uneducated hacks to make just as much money. A good hard day of work is a thing of the past. This is the “give me generation”. Argh, it is too frustrating to even think about this.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. NinjaHart

    I say there is a reason why consol\computer gaming is called GAMING and not sports. Sports is more of a physical activity where games are not. And I also agree that this is going to be made fun of, I aldredy made fun of it myself.

    Kinda feel like logging into my LoL right now just to be a prefessional athelet. :D

    This reminds me of the time the US gouvernment wanted to classify pizza as a vegetable, just so it would be easier to serve healthy food in schools. They again prove their lazyness and stupidity.

    My opinion at least. :)

    PS: There is a reason people who play games on PC and console is called GAMERS and not athelets in general. Just saying.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. mreko3230

    Poker players get the exact same visas. So I don’t see the big deal.

    @8 I make money off Youtube. Sorry if that is offensive to you.

    :)

    #10 1 year ago
  11. ChunkyLover112

    This whole thing is one big joke. Giving away athlete visas to fat, ugly gamers — who have no life. wtf are they thinking? Comparing these losers with athletes! LOL is not even a real game.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. InvaderUnique

    I don’t think anyone understands the scope of the e-sports. For the world finals last year almost 500 000 live viewers watched. Recently on May of 2013, 18 million unique viewers from around the world watched the LOL All-stars over streams or live. Smaller tournaments which are streamed every week from Thursday-Sunday have consistently from 100 000 -150 000 viewers at all times. Unlike “acceptable” professional sports which last about 6 months, LOL tournaments all year wide and have consistently high amounts of viewers.

    The best league of legends players make within 6 digit salaries including sponsorships from many companies. The season 3 world championships will be held in the Staples Center in Los Angeles where professional basketball and hockey players play. While LOL professional players are hardly comparable to other professional sports – it has only taken 4 years for lol to become a professional sport of its scope compared to other sports which have taken decades to have gained their popularity.

    If you think anyone can become a professional gamer – their are over 32 million active LOL players around the world and only around 100 are professional. There are ad revenues during certain tournaments, ticket revenues for live events, sponsorships. These are all attributes that basketball or football have as well. I don’t know why the recongnition of LOL players as professional athletes are such a difficult idea to accept. Of course people whom haven’t played LOL or watched professional players play will mock the game… By the way, the world finals prize pool for the first place team is 1 million dollars, not bad for a sport that apparently shouldn’t be recognized

    #12 1 year ago
  13. For Blood

    @12

    I don’t think that clicking a mouse button makes anyone an athlete.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. fihar

    Are you guys being serious?
    Professional gaming is no joke, you’d only need to look at the level of dedication those Korean gamers have.

    Saying they’re just fat, ugly gamers who have no life is belittling their accomplishments.
    I think most of you people are just envious because you suck at LoL even though you think you’re better than these professionals.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. For Blood

    @14

    Korean gamers are a bad example, they kill themselves over gaming. How many have died in internet cafes while gaming because they ignored everything around them.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. fihar

    @15
    I’m not talking about the shut-ins, I’m talking about dedicated professionals like Jang Jae Ho and Lee Yun Yeol.
    Contrary to popular belief, some of those guys are actually perfectly sociable.

    They get paid for being good at something they like and/or passionate about. That put them in the same category as Senna or Vettel in my book.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. NinjaHart

    @14 This thing has nothing to do about how good or bad anyone is at the game. It’s about calling gamers athelets. I play LoL, but I agree with @15. Clicking a mouse button is not an athletic accomplishment.

    I wouldn’t call them fat ugly gamers with no life, because only an idiot would say that. After all, what goes for LoL gamers, in a way goes for gamers in general. LoL is not the only game with tournaments and far from the only game that will test your skills. So by categorizing LoL gamers as professional athelets, in a way make all gamers professional athelets.

    I for one take offense for that. It’s like they refuse to regcognize the GAMERS, but give them a completely different and stupid title insted.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. For Blood

    @17

    It is like GAMER is a shameful title. It seems like they are making athlete a PC thing to call people who play games. I for one am against anything PC. PC=politically correct for those who don’t know.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. backup

    PC pirates killing gaming with free to play crap
    PS4 true SP experience

    #19 1 year ago
  20. The_Red

    @19
    You do realize that Sony is a huge supporter of F2P games and has made PlanetSide 2 which will be on PS4, right?

    #20 1 year ago
  21. Hcw87

    @20
    You do realize that @19 has an IQ of 73 and has yet to reach puberty?

    Don’t even bother replying to it.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. fihar

    @17
    Again, you’re belittling their accomplishments by saying that all they do is clicking mouse buttons.
    All chess players do is move chess pieces.
    All snooker players do is hit at balls with their sticks, the same goes for golf players.
    All race drivers do is drive around in circles.
    Athletes aren’t just about physical prowess.

    I’m saying that professional gamers, the one that goes around entering official competitions and get paid to do so, deserve to be called athletes.

    #22 1 year ago
  23. For Blood

    @22
    Did you seriously just compare golf to gaming? Apparently you have never played it. Try as you might it is all about clicking a mouse button. Maybe if the person had Parkinsons it could be considered a sport.

    #23 1 year ago
  24. backup

    @20
    Buy PS3 then u will know wat SP experience is along with good MP also

    #24 1 year ago
  25. backup

    @21
    You do realize that u hava an IQ of 7 and has yet to reach puberty?

    #25 1 year ago
  26. fihar

    @23
    That’s double standards.
    You refuse to acknowledge the skill and planning that goes behind a single round of LoL, but you acknowledge the technique and finesse that goes behind a single swing in golf.
    Hypocrisy at it’s best.

    I played both, I suck at both, I recognize the skill involved in both.

    #26 1 year ago
  27. Ireland Michael

    @23 I love how you completely ignore every counter argument made against your ignorance.

    I’m starting to believe you’re actually an intentional troll, being contrary purely for the sake of being contrary.

    @26 This same guy thinks that women are forcibly demasculating men and taking away their right. It’s impossible to take anything he says seriously.

    #27 1 year ago
  28. For Blood

    @26

    There is alot more than just swinging. You have wind, distance, rain, elevation and green speed.

    @27

    You still haven’t responded to how I explained white males have no rights in America. In Ireland you more than likely don’t have all the special interest groups we have. Oh and by the way, you just don’t like people who don’t have the same views as you. I think that Frog dude in the other article pegged you to a T.

    #28 1 year ago
  29. fihar

    @28
    There’s also a lot more to LoL than just clicking the mouse buttons.
    Because unlike Golf, you’re not the only person in the field, not to mention the plethora of customizations and the choice of Champions available.

    #29 1 year ago
  30. OrbitMonkey

    White males have no rights in America?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    I’m laughing at you, btw.

    Grow a pair & man-the fuck-up. Us honkeys run the show. Mewling kids like you, make men look bad.

    Keep it up & your man-card will be revoked.

    #30 1 year ago
  31. OrbitMonkey

    On topic:

    If drone pilots can be rewarded medals for operations in Afghanistan, then why not call competitive gamers athlete’s?

    The times, they are a changing.

    #31 1 year ago
  32. NinjaHart

    @26

    First off, I did say that LoL is not the only game that will test your skills, by saying that I do acknowlege that the game requires skills. I’m not taking anything away from that. But gamers are gamers and should be recognized as prefossional GAMERS, not athletes.

    Secondly, the skills required to play gold in real life will take YEARS off training to do. You can get good at LoL by playing by a few good rules, and I’m pretty sure that it’s hell of a lot easier to memorize the power, wind, club combinations in a golf game, than it is to actually doing it. All I’m saying is that they are taking the GAMING title away from gamers because it’s easier.

    Like it would be easier to categorize pizza as vegetable just so it would be easier to serve healthy food in schools. Instead of actually buying healtier food for the schools.

    Even if it’s just a “formality”, it’s still ripping the gamer title away from the gamers, and that’s the part I don’t like.

    #32 1 year ago
  33. For Blood

    @29

    It is a controlled enviroment. People who want to call gamers athletes were horrible at real sports or their parents never let them play.

    @30

    Here is why white males have no rights in America as I posted in another topic.

    White men in America cannot have hate crimes committed against them. The only way that is possible is if they are gay or it is based on a religion. A minority kills a white person it is murder. A white person kills a minority it is murder with an additional hate crime charge. White person calls a minority a racial slur hate crime. Minority calls a white person a racial slur, nothing. I could give more examples. Actually I have a good one. This whole George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin thing going on in Florida is getting national news because of race, but two African American teens shoot and kill a white baby, nothing.

    #33 1 year ago
  34. Ireland Michael

    @28 “Ireland you more than likely don’t have all the special interest groups we have.”

    Fathers rights in regards to their children is a huge issue in Ireland right now, and the streets of Dublin are regularly filled with men protesting against it. That doesn’t mean there is an “agenda” against men.

    I have very little interest in most “special interest groups” in America anyway. There are countless numbers of them. and most are simply seeking attention and money through controversy and sensationalism to line their own pockets. Few are actually fighting for real change, for the better.

    “Oh and by the way, you just don’t like people who don’t have the same views as you.”

    I have no problem with people having different opinions to me. My problem is with your affirmation bias.

    “This whole George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin thing going on in Florida is getting national news because of race, but two African American teens shoot and kill a white baby, nothing.”

    Correlation does not equal causation. Media bias is not human bias, and selective and isolated incidences are not indicative of a larger agenda.

    #34 1 year ago
  35. For Blood

    @34

    Oh, it is a daily thing. Again in Georgia, four black people beat up a white guy leave him in the road and left him for dead. Get this, it happened in the beginning of July and just got reported. America is not what it once was, it is not the place my grandpa immigrated to. You can’t do anything here without offending someone and believe me I offend many.

    #35 1 year ago
  36. Christopher Jack

    I do think the world is being over dramatic, things like racism & reverse racism(which is really racism too) really leave a sour taste in modern society. Especially annoying when boring white people shout racist at everything that moves & on the other side of the coin you have people shouting terrorist at every Arab they see. Why do we still have all these cultural conflicts in the 21st century, grow up world.

    #36 1 year ago
  37. stretch215

    @35 People see race where they want to, as it’s a completely socially constructed concept. Where I would see 4 men beating a man badly, you (and the ignorant media) see 4 black men beat up a white man. Which, honestly, is nothing compared to what African Americans had to endure before the institution of so-called “equal” rights. Call me when white men are being hung, lynched, or dragged from the back of a truck for being white.

    #37 1 year ago
  38. Christopher Jack

    @37, Cultural issues do exist but no one should ever be defended or attacked because of it. It’s a fact that Blacks tend to have a higher imprisonment rate than Hispanics & Hispanics than Whites but that speaks nothing of the individual. Now there are many reasons for this but the most common one seems to be that low income family=lower standard education=lower potential income=higher imprisonment rate & unfortunately that’s a hard cycle to break & unfortunately it seems that blacks & hispanics have been trapped in that cycle for a while.

    #38 1 year ago
  39. For Blood

    @37

    You got it backwards, the media sees it as four guys beating up another guy. I see it as four black guys beating up a white guy. I am not racist, but the mentality the black people have is ridiculous. They are threatening to kill Zimmerman and riot if he is found not guilty. If I remember we didn’t riot when OJ was found innocent. I have quite a bit of black friends but they don’t have the “thug” mentality that is so common.

    #39 1 year ago
  40. Ireland Michael

    @39 “I am not racist, but…”

    You are racist.

    #40 1 year ago
  41. stretch215

    @39 “the mentality the black people have” wow…. Generalize much? With language like that i doubt you have black “friends”. You have no idea how blac k people in america feel because you are not black. You don’t know the feelings of oppression and racism felt daily by black people. That is where the “mentality” you speak of originates. Some of us are angry, some of us are just trying to survive in a country that doesn’t teally care about us, but MOST of us are law-abiding citizens in the pursuit of happiness; just like you.

    #41 1 year ago
  42. stretch215

    @40+10000

    #42 1 year ago
  43. Christopher Jack

    @40, Maybe not all people but you can’t deny that instinctively we react differently to people of different races & we have logical reason for it. Not all black people are bad but statistically they’re worst than whites- is a comment like this truly racist? Honestly in my neighbourhood I’m most worried by the aboriginal Australians, than white people yet I also feel a little odd for being more worried by white people than the recent boom of African immigrants.

    #43 1 year ago
  44. backup

    PC gamers are only non racist they pirate all games
    From PC to 3ds and make sure developers don’t get profit of it
    thus killing all developers
    gotta love PC pirates

    #44 1 year ago
  45. stretch215

    @43 “Statistically worse” wow again…. What does that even mean?

    #45 1 year ago
  46. For Blood

    @43

    You should come to America, I think you would like it.

    #46 1 year ago
  47. For Blood

    @45

    I hope you are joking.

    #47 1 year ago
  48. Ireland Michael

    @43 “Maybe not all people but you can’t deny that instinctively we react differently to people of different races & we have logical reason for it.”

    I can’t speak for everyone else, but I have never “instinctively reacted differently to people of different races”, as I see no “logical” reason to do so. I was raised believing that everyone should be treated the same, no matter what they look like, as long as they treat you with the same dignity and respect.

    “Not all black people are bad but statistically they’re worst than whites- is a comment like this truly racist?”

    Its entirely racist.

    Black people are more statistically prone to crime and incarceration because they are statistically more likely to be raised in impoverished areas with poor income and poor living condition… because of racism.

    The problem isn’t with the people, but the poor circumstances they have been raised in.

    “Honestly in my neighbourhood I’m most worried by the aboriginal Australians…”

    You’re racist.

    #48 1 year ago
  49. stretch215

    @47 No sir, I hope you are joking. I’m fully aware of all the crime statistics, that’s actually a part of my job, but there is no statistic for people being “better” or “worse”. People are people, man. Some are good, some…not so much. Regardless of the color of their skin. You don’t seem very bright though, so I imagine the complexity of these issues is lost on you.

    #49 1 year ago
  50. Christopher Jack

    @45, Well I don’t have statistics on hand but I believe I recently heard that about 1 in 20 black people were currently serving jail sentences compared to I believe about 1 in 140 white people so assuming that’s roughly true, blacks appear to be 7* more likely than whites.

    @48, Individually I try treat everybody with the same respect but you’d be lying to me if you’ve never thought differently of someone or some group because of their race.
    Also I’m not debating the reasons as to why blacks have a higher imprisonment rate, I know if we were all raised exactly the same there’d be very few differences regardless of race but the fact is we’re not so although race isn’t the real issue, people of different races have been treated differently through history & ended up in their current position because of it.
    I’m also worried by aboriginals because many of them have made threats to me & my family for no reason & are the most frequent vandals in my neighbourhood too. Oh the spray paint, it’s everywhere. I’ve personally never ran into an issue with an African. White people sit in between, many of the vandals are white here & a few have needlessly threatened me but nowhere near on the same level.
    I also feel like mentioning I dislike little dogs because a few of them have bitten me but I love big dogs- is this also racist? Of course though I still treat little dogs the same but I won’t deny feeling differently about them based on personal experience.

    All in all I don’t really give a fuck if you’re white, yellow, black or brown so long as you’re a nice person. I won’t lie & say that I’m colourblind, if I see a group of aboriginal teenangers I’m going to be hesitant about approaching their direction (because of personal experience) but I don’t think badly of every single aboriginal that I’ve met.

    #50 1 year ago
  51. stretch215

    @50 see #48

    #51 1 year ago
  52. For Blood

    @49

    Actually crime statistics do show who is better or worse. Just like batting averages or free throw percentages. That’s what statistics show, crime is up in this part of the city, but down in that part. It would not be equal it would be better or worse.

    #52 1 year ago
  53. stretch215

    @52 crime statistics are only examples of one part of society and are not representative of an entire race of people. That’s pretty much common sense. Criminals are a minority within any population group.

    #53 1 year ago