“The United States government recognizes League of Legends pro players as professional athletes, and awards visas to essentially work in the United States under that title,” Riot e-sports manager Nick Allen tells Gamespot.
Allen says that international tourney organization is now much easier, though getting the initial batch of visas was a “lengthy process” that required a lot of legwork in order to provide enough proof to satisfy government officials.
I don’t think we should be calling them athletes. I mean, sure they now have some of the privileges of professional athletic institutions like the NFL or NBA, but I believe these guys should always be referred to as professional gamers. Which, seeing how much money there is in League of Legends tournaments, it’s no joke. And if you actually think about how much time and effort pro gamers invest into their craft, it’s a pretty legitimate field. Now, my parents would probably slap me twice over if I ever thought about dropping out of school to make a living playing LoL. I’d probably slap myself too, but you can’t deny that what these guys do is legitimate and more power to them if they’re able to get sponsors and support themselves financially with it.
for those bashing the word “athlete” read the rest of the article. it is about visas for professional gamers. In the past teams have had to use alts and even forfeit because of a visa issue. With the athlete distinction for visas all it is doing is allowing these competitors to not be restricted by a visa for a 2 day tournament.
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