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U.S. recognizes eSports players as professional athletes

League of Legends sets precedent yet again, as studio Riot successfully campaigns for professional athletes' visas for some of its international pro players.
League of Legends sets precedent yet again. Riot Games eSports manager Nick Allen reveals to GameSpot that in bringing international LoL players Stateside, the United States government is beginning to issue the players visas as "professional athletes." "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," Allen explains in a video interview with GameSpot. It was no easy task to obtain the visas, Allen says, with Riot engaging in a prolonged back-and-forth with the U.S. government until the studio had provided enough proof to back up its argument. However, by setting this precedent, Riot may help pave the way for more eSports pro players to obtain athlete visas in the future. The "groundbreaking" move will afford international eSports tournaments "a much easier process," Allen says, "because [players will be] actually recognized by the government. This is a huge thing."

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