US government recognizes League of Legends players as pro athletes

After lengthy discussions between Riot Games and US government, League of Legends players now deemed professional athletes, can be awarded visas.

The United States government now recognizes League of Legends players as professional athletes and awards visas for them to come to the country to play.

Riot Games eSports manager Nick Allen told GameSpot in a new video interview (below) that the "groundbreaking" decision came about after much back-and-forth between the developer and the government.

"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," Allen said. "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," Allen continued.

He further explained that Riot went back and forth with the government multiple times before enough evidence was provided to prove that the game is a legitimate sport.

The League of Legends Season 3 Championship Finals will take place October 4 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Want the latest news about League of Legends?

League of Legends

League of Legends

Discussion

1489 comments
wolfyrabbit
wolfyrabbit

i am more interested in why this made this a sport. what r the benefits to the government?

GONtheSKYLORD
GONtheSKYLORD

Lol injury reports will say  "Out with carpal tunnel." I guess technically it can be called a sport, but there's nothing athletic about it. In fact, most I've seen are the exact opposite of athletic.

Xymond
Xymond

For all of you who are mad that this is not a sport/they aren't athletes: Get the fuck over it.

Why don't you go argue over things that really matter? Russia is now taking a stand against homosexuality. 500 prisoners(Al-qaeda) in Iraq were just released! the rain forests (amazon in particular) is/ are being deforested at an astonishing rate of FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTY SEVEN PERCENT FASTER. now stop squabbling over what makes one an "athlete" and go read some real news you uncultured swine.

Makenshi
Makenshi

So instead of handing out more work visas, we are now allowing gamers overseas to come game in the States. I see where this is going.

82jumpchump
82jumpchump

So if playing video games competitively makes me a pro-athlete, does that mean the e-peen I flex at other 12 year old smack-talking imbeciles is really as big as I project while I hide behind my computer monitor? I just want to be next to one of the people I play against in LoL, or any competitive FPS game; that will make it physical.... 

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

Wow, people are already talking about the Olympic spot of video games...

First of all I agree that if gaming is worthy of Olympics, then the committee should also consider Chess, Darts, Arm-wrestling etc.

Second of all LoL is just one video game out of thousands, and video games are very time dependent. In 10 years most of current games are completely forgotten. So who would decide what games are played and which are not, and on what grounds? Would it belong in summer or winter games?

But I would absolutely love if there were Video game Olympics featuring dozens of games during a couple of weeks.



Crush_Project
Crush_Project

next time they might actually find a real rts gamer, and not someone that can only control one unit with any skill.

lol and dota were always for folks that couldn't handle the real game.

santinegrete
santinegrete

No... no! this is wrong! the correct term is Cyber athlete :D

MusicalNinja77
MusicalNinja77

Why is everyone here so dumb? Really. Why is everyone against this? This is great for the gaming world. Gaming is a real thing. It IS a job. Ever seen how much top YouTube gamers earn? Probably more than you do. At least now it is seen as a real thing to the government. And to all people whining about how gamers aren't proficient in physical aspects, gaming requires MUCH more intellectual processing than any Olympic sport right now. And everyone knows America needs more intellectual sports (I'm an American and wow people are dumb here.) People need to realize that gaming isn't "Ruining our children" (Every politician that says that video games are ruining our children is SO stupid.) And gaming GREATLY improves intelligence, like faster reactions, better eye sight, etc. And as long as you exercise normally (I am a paintball player and a gamer, so don't say i'm some fat gamer blob) then gaming is VERY healthy.

TheCirclesEdge
TheCirclesEdge

Ok so i made an account just to comment on this video and say

Does the title that people give these professional players really matter that much to people? I know that calling them an athlete isn't actually accurate if you look up the definition it says :" A person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise." but we really don't have a proper word to describe them with and also with league of legends being called an "E-sport" you immediately think sport=athlete (at least at a professional level) and this is why people tend to use the word athlete. 

P.S also the "check if you are a human test" is pretty cool.

1wikkid1
1wikkid1

This is retarded. Plain and simple. No, gamers are not in any way shape or form professional athletes. It's ridiculous to even imply such a thing. Once again the people up top are broadcasting their ignorance to the world, and I for one didn't vote for this. Nor do I expect my tax dollars to be spent on deciding issues such as this, I'd much rather they protected the borders, or put some cops out on the block so I can walk my puppy after dark, or help drug addicts, help elderly, sick, homeless, poor. The veterans are committing suicide in astonishing numbers because they have to wait six months to see a shrink. What is the government doing? Opening up immigration to professional gamers, GTFO!

Watch all the Korean teams start applying for visas because they're, all of a sudden, professional athletes! What kind of retarded thinking are they doing up on the hill? I most definitely want some of that sh!t they're smokin on, maybe that would bring my pulse down after seeing stupidity of this magnitude.

nikspt
nikspt

I can't believe the comments I'm reading. Are you all so conceited that you would sit here arguing about such utterly irrelevant topics?  The majority of you are missing the overarching point here!

This is a major, major step forward for the gaming world! Who cares whether or not eSports participants are athletes! Good grief people! The US government, who has one of the strictest immigration systems in the world, has just given societal legitimacy to gamers! 

When you stop to consider that this is a society where the older generations (who just so happen to be in charge of policy decisions such as this one) consider games to be the root of all criminal activity among our youth, this is no small breakthrough! Decisions like this could be the herald of an overall shift in the perception of gaming. I only see positive things coming in the future if decisions like this continue to be made.

Zatto-1
Zatto-1

The US government was never bright.

Josh_Barker
Josh_Barker

This is the same government that thinks a pizza is a vegetable.
What new low of idiocy will the US sink to next?

cshourihan
cshourihan

Say what you will about LoL not being a sport... it'll probably still be the most cerebral thing at the Olympics.  I welcome the concept only because A) it's hilarious and B) it's an Olympic game I'd actually watch.

ClaTheNinja
ClaTheNinja

I'm sorry but fighting games require way more physical and mental effort than Leauge Of Legends ever will. Fighting games should be an Olympic sport first.


I think it's clear that the factor that convinced the committee was nothing about that LoL should be considered an Olympic sport, but rather that the ratings would be insanely high if LoL were part of the Olympics.


(Oh I should explain that I came across this GameSpot article by trying to look up about LoL being included in the 2016 Olympics:


http://www.p4rgaming.com/league-of-legends-now-official-olympic-sport/)

hXcShock
hXcShock

I 100% support E-Sports but to call them athletes is a joke. There is no athleticism involved.

hal00000
hal00000

so now any terrorist playing lol from his cave can get a visa to get into the states?  thanks a lot jerks!

Triton
Triton

"More than 10,000 people are expected to attend" 

Friends and family members coming to see little Johnny play his video game I'm guessing.

Valdomer0
Valdomer0

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this country wanted to declare tomato paste as a vegetable? quote:  "The tomato paste on school lunch pizzas counts as a serving of vegetable", ohh USA, you and your irrational thinking.

DMND
DMND

Well, Shooting is an Olympics' sport and there's less fingermoving than computer gaming...

omenjamlord
omenjamlord

Ah America, you and your crazy ways. 

BarkingSpider81
BarkingSpider81

LoL "athletes" are to pro bowlers as pro bowlers are to gold medal Olympians.

Rennik_Repotsir
Rennik_Repotsir

ath·lete - aTHlēt - Noun - A person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise. smh...

freedom01
freedom01 moderator

Hahahaha That game me good laugh

LesserAngel
LesserAngel

The problem here is that the word "athlete" specifies someone involved in physical activities in most dictionaries, perhaps professional "competitors" would be more appropriate?

Triton
Triton

OMG!!!  What next... Kick ball, jacks, jump rope, marbles, slip-n-slide, Corn hole, Dungeons and Dragons... 

Just cause a group of you PLAY it over and over instead of going to work everyday does not make it a job. I dare say most of us have a job and come home and do these things in our spare time. Guess some folks have nothing to do bu spare time and decide its a job.


Malignant_08
Malignant_08

I'm a big supporter of professional gaming getting more recognition through esports, and being awarded opportunities such as this is great. However the use of the term 'professional athlete' is not appropriate to describe video gamers. It borders on undermining the achievements of 'proper athletes'.

Erebus
Erebus

Does this mean meth-head gamers will be drug tested now? I'd like to see that.

gamergath
gamergath

@Xymond:  hahaha, just like the way you said it... I think I've found a new word "Uncultured Swine". Made my day ^_^

dayumsakadi
dayumsakadi

@PrpleTrtleBuBum Not the games that they concider; LoL and SC2. These games will never be not played and is nowhere near getting unpopular. the closest thing to change is SC2 becoming SC3-4-5-6

drakedarkblade
drakedarkblade

@santinegrete 

The thing is that professional athletes have particular privileges (the visa access for example).

If they called them Cyber Athlete they could deny those privileges to the people, so while Cyber athlete may be a interesting and accurate term for the people professional athlete must be given for legal reasons.

dispaccount49
dispaccount49

Allow me to show you how incredibly stupid you are. Let's start.

"...gaming requires MUCH more intellectual processing than any Olympic sport right now."

Yes, that is what the Olympics are about. Intellectual processing. Hell, why don't we make math an Olympic sport, see who can solve tough equations the fastest?

"...America needs more intellectual sports..."

There is no such thing as an intellectual sport. Look up the definition of "sport".

"I'm an American and wow people are dumb here"

Yes, you are proving your statement well. Your ego somehow manages to overcome basic grammar skills that most people learn in third grade.

"People need to realize that gaming isn't 'ruining our children'..."

Where does this article say anything about gaming "ruining our children"?

"And gaming GREATLY improves intelligence..."

You are not proving that statement too well. Also, don't you think "GREATLY" is an overstatement? If you are a kindergartner who plays nothing but video games, will you be a genius? I don't think that faster reactions and better eyesight (which is actually false, playing too much games can degrade your eyesight) reflects actual life skills that will make you intelligent.

"I am a paintball player and a gamer, so don't say I'm some fat gamer blob"

Wow, not only a gamer, but a paintballer too? That automatically makes you super fit.

"...then gaming is VERY healthy."

Very healthy, huh? I don't know, I wouldn't consider staring at a screen and slightly improving hand-eye coordination is "VERY" healthy.

TL;DR: You are very dumb.

eheroduelist01
eheroduelist01

@1wikkid1 How is it ridiculous?

FACTS MAN, GIVE FACTUALLY BASED SENTENCES.


Basing your entire argument off of media-induced stereotypes is NOT A LEGITIMATE ARGUMENT.

If you want to say "Video games shouldn't be a sport because... they're unhealthy!" I could say that you can receive extremely life-altering (if not fatal) injuries in physical sports. Either way, just saying "IT'S NOT A SPORT BECAUSE THAT'D BE STUPID HERPDERP" IS NOT A LEGITIMATE ARGUMENT.

Chess is considered a sport by the International Olympic Committee and the Government considers League a sport.

ACTUAL FACT-BASED ARGUMENTS AS TO WHY CERTAIN VIDEO GAMES CAN BE CONSIDERED SPORTS.


If people could actually make a legitimate reason why it shouldn't be a sport I could understand that... but NOTHING. I have heard NOTHING in the past year that can form a legitimate bloody reason why it's not a sport. NOT A SINGLE BLOODY THING.

If you can come up with a reason, BY ALL MEANS SAY IT, but for the love of all that is dear in this world- make a lick of bloody sense. You're just being needlessly cruel and making yourself seem immature.

cshourihan
cshourihan

@1wikkid1  I'm getting a slightly racist vibe from you.  It'd be amazing if the Korean teams apply for visas, they're better educated than kids here that's for sure.  

Setho10
Setho10

@ClaTheNinja You realize that site is a joke site right? It's like The Onion for gaming. I swear people will believe anything these days...

Deemo_R
Deemo_R

@ClaTheNinja That site claims to be using information cited from a gamespot interview, but I have yet to see the interview here. Until gamespot releases that information themselves, I really question the validity of that article.

Klocknov
Klocknov

@DMND So what type of gun do you own that all you have to do is pull the trigger to shoot and hit a target? I really want one, well if it is not from a FPS game that is! Otherwise there is posture to take the exertion from the firing of gun and the physical strength between body and arm to hit the target while firing.

eheroduelist01
eheroduelist01

@Rennik_Repotsir Many professional gamers exercise like normal people too. WAIT, IMPLY THAT GAMERS ARE NORMAL PEOPLE!?!

That probably seems completely out of the realm of possibility for many people like you, sorry for blowing some minds.


Now as for a legitimate argument:

(google definition) sport: an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

physical exertion: quick-paced usage of keyboard and mouse, check.

skill: It takes a lot of skill to play games like League of Legends and DotA 2. (if you don't believe me, try them for yourself and/or watch professionals play. It's very challenging.) Check.

individual/team competes against another or others for entertainment: look at Twitch.tv and League of Legends and DotA 2 tournaments (as well as other games) are played both casually and professionally for entertainment, and as far as LoL and DotA 2 are concerned, two teams of five compete against each other to destroy the other team's base. Check.

Seems to count as a sport, next word.


(googled version) athlete: a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.

proficient at sports: established by government that LoL is a sport. Check.

other forms of physical exercise:  Varies from gamer to gamer. unChecked... sort of? Seems like an unusual staple to put at the end of the definition.

I found one that I think better suits the word: http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/athlete

"The noun athlete comes from the Greek word athletes, meaning “contestant in the games.” Anyone who competes in sporting competitions can be called an athlete, but usually the term is reserved for people with a high level of dedication, skill and fitness. If your income comes from participating in your sport, you are a professional athlete."

If your income comes from participating in your sport, you are a professional athlete: The International 4 for DotA 2 recently concluded, giving 5 million dollars just for winning 1st place. Check.


I don't see what possible counterpoint you can make to that. Saying "YOU TOOK A DIFFERENT DEFINITION THAT'S NOT FAIR" probably won't be worth much in my opinion, and I'm not too sure it's easy to argue against Greek roots, along with a pretty clear-cut statement that seems to fit the word perfectly.

But, have fun being needlessly critical of a growing sport, I'll be enjoying eSports for as long as they're willing to keep it going, just like how people enjoy football and soccer. I don't really see the difference to be brutally honest.

Setho10
Setho10

@Triton A lot of people also play Basketball, Baseball, Football and so forth in their spare time and also have a job. Then there are people who are good enough at the game to play it at a professional level and for these people the sport is their job. Professional LOL players practice as often as any other sports player and get paid a lot more than most of us ever will. Just like any other entertainer, they are paid to play LOL for the entertainment of others.

Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

@Triton fuck yeah dungeons and dragons for the next pro sport! or maybe LARP'ing

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

@Erebus So... your plan was to make this comment on a gaming site?

Do you do meth when you play games?  Do you think all gamers are on speed?

I would have gone with Mountain Dew, but to each his own.

Rennik_Repotsir
Rennik_Repotsir

@eheroduelist01 @Rennik_Repotsir Damn... I must have hit a nerve. You have to get that checked; because you made my post more than what it is. Starting with your assumption that I didn't think gamers were normal people...


Only fools assume, please waste time elsewhere...

Erebus
Erebus

@PixelAddict Ah, I should have been a bit more clear. I'm concerned that a lot of "pro-gamers" are enhancing their game with drugs. I probably shouldn't have called them "meth-heads." I'm just saying they should be drug-tested just like other professional athletes.

eheroduelist01
eheroduelist01

@Rennik_Repotsir @eheroduelist01 I've been reading some really offensive stuff about professional gamers for the past couple of weeks so I was already worn down to the nerve about the topic.

It's just that I've been making the same argument for eSports and people keep making the same media-induced stereotypes the main focus of the argument  when that has no logical basis.


There's no real reason that it shouldn't be considered a sport, it's just that many people are conservative on the issue for some reason and don't want to stray from "traditional values."

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

@Erebus Ah okay.  That's fair.

Of course, it opens things up for another PED scandal.  Wondering what steroids could do for finger dexterity....