Competitive gaming now recognized as a pro sport in the US

By on July 15, 2013, 10:30 AM
gaming, league of legends, esports, sports, competitive, riot games

Competitive gaming, also known as eSports, recently made huge strides as the U.S. State Department now recognizes the official League of Legends tournament as a professional sport. The decision will allow gamers from other countries to move to the U.S. to compete in tournaments using a specific visa without having to go through a complicated series of applications.

Riot Games’ VP Dustin Beck said it was a watershed moment that validates e-sports as a sport. Gamers now have the same designation as the NBA, NHL or other professional sports leagues. Beck pointed out that convincing US immigration and Citizenship Services was a long process that hinged on proving that League of Legends can allow people to make a living as a professional.

A lot of people have been dismissive about it, Beck said, simply because they don’t understand the scope of the decision. To further drive the point across, the executive said their viewership numbers are stronger than 80 to 90 percent of the sports covered on ESPN.

Furthermore, non-American players may soon be able to join U.S. teams, much like how David Beckham was able to join the LA Galaxy soccer team.

The first person to benefit from the change looks to be Canadian gamer Danny “Shiptur” Le. He was unable to compete earlier this year due to work permit problems.

It’s worth mentioning that the recognition currently only applies to the eight processional teams in League of Legends and not any other eSports leagues although other leagues can now apply to be added to the list of recognized leagues, we’re told.




User Comments: 35

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insect said:

Nice! Hopefully there will be few nights of staying up to 4-5 am to watch something from Asia live because they can host more U.S. based tournaments. Granted, I don't watch a lot of LoL, but I think StarCraft should be next on the list, then maybe all the Fighter and FPS genre games.

1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Imagine the big TV networks crossing live to the big e-sport event with ball by ball, blow by blow commentary. I'd rather watch paint dry. Competing yourself is one thing, watching somebody else compete is quite another thing.

Guest said:

Why only league of legends? why not any of the other dota clones that are around?

hell, why not fps's for that matter?

also, why does the article title say "competitive gaming now recognized as a pro sport" when it only applies to a game only a minority of the competitive gaming scene plays?

alcarin2030 alcarin2030 said:

Why only league of legends? why not any of the other dota clones that are around?

hell, why not fps's for that matter?

also, why does the article title say "competitive gaming now recognized as a pro sport" when it only applies to a game only a minority of the competitive gaming scene plays?

Minority? League of Legends is the biggest video game in the world.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Why only league of legends? why not any of the other dota clones that are around?

hell, why not fps's for that matter?

also, why does the article title say "competitive gaming now recognized as a pro sport" when it only applies to a game only a minority of the competitive gaming scene plays?

Minority? League of Legends is the biggest video game in the world.

That's 100% fact.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Imagine the big TV networks crossing live to the big e-sport event with ball by ball, blow by blow commentary. I'd rather watch paint dry. Competing yourself is one thing, watching somebody else compete is quite another thing.

I agree, but I'd also say the same about figure skating and it's the most popular event of the Winter Olympics.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Competitive gaming is now recognized as a professional sport? This decision makes about as much sense as pro poker on ESPN.

SexyMan SexyMan said:

LOL? There are also other MOBA games with better graphics such DOTA2 and HON..

Here's a comparison. DOTA2 vs HON

Both are better than LOL.

Guest said:

Wether DOTA2 and HoN have better graphics is not important... LoL is the game that everyone plays and it has a massive following.

3 people like this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

I can already picture fat'n'ugly nerds sprouting from their basements with t-shirts that say "Recognize!", and it scares the hell out of me...

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

I've been watching all those "Awesome Games Done Quick" videos on youtube, it's a charity that raises money for Cancer. You should see these guys do speed runs through some of these games & the tricks they pull off...its amazing. I especially enjoyed the Super Mario 3 and Metroid Prime runs myself for the 2013 event.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I agree, but I'd also say the same about figure skating and it's the most popular event of the Winter Olympics.

There is no accounting for some peoples tastes.

SexyMan SexyMan said:

Wether DOTA2 and HoN have better graphics is not important... LoL is the game that everyone plays and it has a massive following.

Of course.. gameplay, balance and graphics does not matter because bandwagon rules all!

JC713 JC713 said:

Lol. That is legit...

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Why only league of legends? why not any of the other dota clones that are around?

hell, why not fps's for that matter?

also, why does the article title say "competitive gaming now recognized as a pro sport" when it only applies to a game only a minority of the competitive gaming scene plays?

Minority? League of Legends is the biggest video game in the world.

Can you support that claim?

LoL isn't bad but for me Dota 2 is the king of MOBA. In terms of shooters, well Shootmania has potential.

Guest said:

If a 12 year old can beat a 21 year old it is not a sport.

SirGCal SirGCal said:

Just put in the console vs PCs again so we can watch the sticks cry some more...

1 person liked this | Guest said:

[SIZE=14px][U]VitalyT[/U][/SIZE][/URL][SIZE=12px][COLOR=#3e4
5c] [/COLOR][/SIZE]"]I can already picture fat'n'ugly nerds sprouting from their basements with t-shirts that say "Recognize!", and it scares the hell out of me...

You forgot to add virgins. :D

Puiu Puiu said:

Who cares what the best MOBA is. You have to admit that without LoL you would not have million dollar prizes, weekly HD games, actual leagues that unite the world once a year and many more.

And again LoL manages a first: the first esport to become a pro sport. All that's left is for starcraft and dota2 to follow suite.

j05hh j05hh said:

"In other news professional gaming is the leading cause of brain aneurysms in young adults.....the sport needs to be safer"

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Can you support that claim?

LoL isn't bad but for me Dota 2 is the king of MOBA. In terms of shooters, well Shootmania has potential.

You can support it by yourself and just use google. The margin isn't even close.

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

Why only league of legends? why not any of the other dota clones that are around?

hell, why not fps's for that matter?

also, why does the article title say "competitive gaming now recognized as a pro sport" when it only applies to a game only a minority of the competitive gaming scene plays?

Minority? League of Legends is the biggest video game in the world.

I hate Call of Duty, but I gotta hand it to them...they're popular and the sheep will keep playing their games. LoL is a popular game, don't get me wrong, but do not underestimate the fact that brainless 360 and PS3 owners play that game online a LOT. I'm very surprised that it is not included with LoL in eSports as a division of its own.

[link]

Puiu Puiu said:

Why only league of legends? why not any of the other dota clones that are around?

hell, why not fps's for that matter?

also, why does the article title say "competitive gaming now recognized as a pro sport" when it only applies to a game only a minority of the competitive gaming scene plays?

Minority? League of Legends is the biggest video game in the world.

I hate Call of Duty, but I gotta hand it to them...they're popular and the sheep will keep playing their games. LoL is a popular game, don't get me wrong, but do not underestimate the fact that brainless 360 and PS3 owners play that game online a LOT. I'm very surprised that it is not included with LoL in eSports as a division of its own.

[link]

people still play that shit game sim city?

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

people still play that **** game sim city?

Apparently, it has a fanbase. I don't knock games that are popular even if I hate them. I despise CoD (I'm more of a Battlefield guy), but I understand that they're very successful. I despise EA, but apparently Sim City is popular.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

The official definition of sport involves physical exertion.

But that definition can change. I am personally still deciding if I want to call it a sport. Nevertheless the streams are entertaining and it does take an enormous amount of skill to play professionally.

mailpup mailpup said:

If competitive gaming is recognized as a professional sport, does that make the participants athletes?

IAMTHESTIG said:

Is it April 1st already?

Puiu Puiu said:

If competitive gaming is recognized as a professional sport, does that make the participants athletes?

yes

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

does that make the participants athletes?
Sure! It is measured by how far the participants can throw their controller when they lose a round.

Puiu Puiu said:

Sure! It is measured by how far the participants can throw their controller when they lose a round.

it seems you don't know how well pro LoL players are paid :p

it's like saying that curling players polish ice all day.

does it matter how "physical" it is?

-pro players that make it into the LCS make more money then we can imagine (salary + sponsors + prizes)

-they are watched by millions in bigger events (season 2 LoL LCS world final had 2 mil concurrent viewers TV+stream); twitch stream has every week 100k-200k viewers

-they have more sponsors than most established sports and not to mention bigger tourney prizes

At the rate esports are growing in popularity (counter-strike or starcraft were lucky to have 50-100k dollars in prizes a few years ago), in maybe another decade, esports will become normal and will be featured on big TV sport channels.

10 years ago only teens were watching these events. Now we have 20-30 year olds who watch them. who knows what the next 10 years will bring.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

does it matter how "physical" it is?
In my opinion, yes it does. Any sport that does not represent how physically fit and capable one can be, in my mind is not a sport at all. Take fishing for example, thats not a sport, it's a hobby and a way of life for some. And also in my opinion, sports should be just that, not a profession.

Puiu Puiu said:

In my opinion, yes it does. Any sport that does not represent how physically fit and capable one can be, in my mind is not a sport at all. Take fishing for example, thats not a sport, it's a hobby and a way of life for some. And also in my opinion, sports should be just that, not a profession.

so chess, go and other similar games are a no go for you? what's the difference between a board game and a PC game?

trust me there tons of weird and wacky sports in the world that make esports look like an Olympic game.

Also sports being only hobbies is wrong. You don't become a pro player to get rich. Getting rich is just you being good at your "hobby" and some luck. Seeing pro players compete is one of best entertainment you can get on the planet. (and each has it's own favorite sport)

With people becoming more and more tech-savvy or just more accustomed to being near computers means that they start to like watching good gamers compete using a controller in hand.

Guest said:

You despise EA but are more of a Battlefield guy? You do realize that Battlefield is published by EA, correct?

bobbydylan bobbydylan said:

You guys can make virgin, fat, acne jokes all you want, it's not going to stop competitive gaming from being one of the largest sports in the world.

1) it's global

2) easy to televise

3) perfect demographic for advertisers

4) anyone can participate!!!!! It's the sport for the average joe

5) more fun to watch than a lot of normal sports. I had more fun watching evo this weekend than a lot of traditional sporting events. evo fighting championships, look them up. I've played and watched regular sports for longer than I have played video games, so there is no bias.

2c

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Lol, the grand finals for a 2001 gamecube game hit 110k viewers this year.

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