US government recognises League of Legends pros as professional athletes
League of Legends has been (somewhat reluctantly) deemed a professional sport by the US government, after a lengthy campaign by Riot and others to get LoL's pro players recognised as professional athletes. This is more than just an empty title, however - pros will now be able to come to the US on working visas, which will make it considerably easier for international players to appear in tournaments. "The United States government recognises League of Legends pro players as professional athletes, and award Visas to essentially work in the United States under that title," Riot eSports manager Nick Allen revealed in an interview with GameSpot. "This is groundbreaking for eSports."
Allen explained how the decision came to be. "This is a lengthy process, we had a lot of people fighting for this, and it wasn't something that happened overnight. This is constant back and forth of like, 'Show us more proof, is this realistic', and that sort of thing. Eventually it got to the point where they were like, 'Okay, we have no reason to say no. This is legitimate'."
LoL's Season 3 World Championship kicks off in LA on the 16th of September. First place wins a cool $1 million, something that brings its own kind of legitimacy to the sport.