League of Legends, Riot Games’ hugely popular online strategy title, is now an official professional sport in the US. This development gives top League of Legends players the possibility of getting a work visa in the US, just like traditional foreign athletes get residence in the US when a team wants to hire them.
According to E-Sports vice president Dustin Beck, this is akin to the transfer of David Beckham to LA Galaxy which gave soccer a boost, and opens the door for e-sports to be taken much more seriously. With the acceptance of League of Legends as a sport by the US government, the process for players of the game to move to the US will be considerably easier. League of Legends has over 70 million registered players. A sport visa can last five years, and it surely won’t be long before other video games get the same treatment as League of Legends.
This change allows players such as Canadian Danny ‘Shuphtur’ Le to compete in competitions in the US. Top League of Legend teams can get huge sponsorship deals, and the best players can earn around $100,000. Allowing foreign players to join US teams can only increase the popularity and competitive of e-sports.
The next League of Legends World Championship takes place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles this October, where two teams will battle over prize money of $2,000,000. The event has already sold out.