US goverment confirms League of Legends is a legitimate sport

first_imgProfessional gamers are not a new phenomenon, but would you call these people professional athletes and the games they play sports? Apparently the US government now considers the participants in the League of Legends Season 3 Championship Finals pro athletes, thanks to some serious negotiation from Riot Games.It’s easy to laugh at the idea that your time on the couch or in front of a mouse and keyboard is actually training in the sport of your choosing, but what happened here is a little more serious than that. Riot Games is one of several game studios that have been lobbying to get their games counted as legitimate sports by the government, so their championship players can be treated like real athletes.Why do they care? What this means, essentially, is that these players can now apply for work visas for their games, granting them a fast track into the US for extended periods of time. Riot Games eSports Manager Nick Allen explained in a recent interview that this is something that have been working towards for a long time now, and are very happy that it has finally happened.Now that we’ve pulled the pin out of this particular grenade, where is the line drawn exactly? There aren’t a lot of games out there that have the kind of viewing audience that League of Legends currently has, where the championship matches happen in front of sold out arenas full of people with millions watching at home.It seems like the next step would be for the US government to make a list of requirements that have to be met in order for other games and their competitive players to be treated the same way.Once you’ve wrapped your head around the idea that professional games and traditional sports athletes are slowly falling into the same category, you have to wonder where things go next. Will we live in a Gamer style future where eSports is as popular as regular sports and their athletes are capable of the same international appeal as the current superstar athletes?last_img