E-Gaming takes first step to be recognized as a sport on an international level
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/30/2013 -- Just one month following the United States immigration services clearing a League of Legends as a professional sport, well-known player Danny “Shiptur” Le has become the first pro gamer to be the recipient of the newly available visa type.
The new rule means that Le is considered an “internationally recognized” athlete. Le, who is a native of Canada, the visa now allows him to be able to enter the United States for the training ahead of the upcoming world championships. The event will hold a $1 million prize that will be handed to the triumphant 'athlete' in the closing ceremonies.
Last month’s decision, which places e-sports at an equivalent level as those sports played upon a field (at least in terms of international travel, has been described as a “watershed” moment for the U.S. Competitive Teams in gaming contests.
Other e-sports players have been granted particular visas in the past, but mostly for one-off events, and which give them a highly restricted number of days to be within another country. However, Le is the first to be able to make a salary during his stay within the country.
By all accounts, convincing the visa bureau of the legitimacy of online gaming as a pro sport was no easy task. "We had to get endorsements from participants and prove that this is a consistent, viable career path and people can make a living playing games," said Dustin Beck, Vice President of Riot Games.
While other e-sports leagues will still need to apply for the same level of recognition, the important first step has clearly been made for the niche. Le stated to the Los Angeles Times of the issue, "It's kind of so big — actually kind of mind-blowing."
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