US border authorities declare professional gamers 'athletes'
The visas were issued to professional League of Legends players - a free multiplayer arena-style game
The US have issued professional gamers with P-1 visas, designating the players as "individual athletes".
The gamers in question are travelling to America to compete in a tournament for the popular arena-battle game League of Legends. The decision to award P-1 visas to competitors came after lengthy discussion between Riot Games (the developers behind League of Legends) and the US government.
Nick Allen, the eSports manager for Riot Games, described the decision as "groundbreaking":
"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," said Allen. "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."
The players rewarded these visas will be competing in the League of Legends Season 3 Championship Finals, due to take place in Los Angeles on October 4. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend, with many more watching on the internet. Last year's grand finals attracted an online audience of over 8.2 million.
As well as attracting viewing figures, eSports are also attracted prize money. This particular League of Legends championship has a total of $8m prize money, with $1m going to the winning team. The first individual to receive the P-1 Visa will be Alberto Rengifo (alias Crumbzz) who will be competing in the championship for the British-based Team Dignitas.
Life & Style blogs
Snapchat removed the Best Friends list feature and 'stalkers' are upset
Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Eight-year-old girl Camilla Lisant suggests possible cure for cancer to her scientist father
Lack of medically trained staff leaves NHS 111 phone service struggling to cope, insider claims
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£35000 - £43000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior IT Support Analyst...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An excellent opportunity ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Systems Administra...
£29000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst- (Customer Suppor...