It was announced by Riot Games eSports Manager, Nick Allen, that the US Visa Bureau, and thus the United States, now officially considers the mega-hit MOBA, League of Legends, as an actual "professional sport." That also means its players are technically "professional athletes." Can't say I'm surprised by the news at all actually and am sort of happy eSports is headed in a more mainstream direction.
Of course, there's still a lot of hate going on for this type of news because in every book-related technicality, League of Legends is now officially on par with Soccer, Basketball, Football, etc. Does that mean it's as grand as the "real" sports leagues on a cultural level? Of course not and definitely not in North America. I love eSports to death but I'm not going to flail a banner saying Team Solo Mid or Curse are equal to The Lakers.
The whole point of Riot pushing for this was to make it easier for pro players to acquire visas to play for NA teams. Up until recently, being a pro eSports player wasn't considered a real job and thus made it difficult to obtain a work visa. Now that's just silly... If only you knew the amount of work pros put into their game. This news could potentially make LCS, as well as future eSports titles, much more dynamic. With Curse's recent acquisition of European LoL All-star, EDward, it won't be long before other current and upcoming teams look to other countries for battle-proven elites.
At this time, this news only applies to League of Legends. Mind you, Starcraft II is gigantic but they have the backing of a company known as Blizzard Entertainment. Riot is pretty big too but Blizzard has been contracting pros to help with multiplayer balancing and that is technically a "real job." hopefully, the US Visa Bureau sets up parameters and requirements for other major titles to work this way as well. Not that it matters. Only a select few titles reach numbers and revenue equal to LoL for now.
So what do you guys think of this news? Hate all you want, it already happened. In fact, eSports made a showing at the Olympic Committee last year so we were already deemed a "true sport." Heck, we might even make a showing at the Olympics in as early as 2020. No Physical Activity? I guess your right, but try playing a pro on pro game of Halo for 2 to 5 hours straight with communication at the highest level. No surrenders or time-outs by the way.