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
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 Iain Duncan Smith's expenses credit card is suspended after he runs up £1,000 debt to taxpayer
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 French woman dies in freak bungee jumping accident
- 5 Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck to divorce and end their 10-year marriage
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...
£26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Technician is req...
£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: As an Associate Recruitment C...