Video Game Star Gets 'Pro Athlete' Visa
Danny 'Shiphtur' Le crosses over
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Aug 8, 2013 10:30 AM CDT
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(Newser) – If you're looking for a sign that e-sports have arrived, look no further than Danny "Shiphtur" Le. The Canadian League of Legends star has just become the first professional video game player ever awarded a P-1A visa, a visa normally reserved for the likes of David Beckham or Ichiro Suzuki, the LA Times reports. Like those players, Le needs to move so he can train and play alongside his new team in Riverside, California.

Immigration officials initially rejected Le's attempts to join a US team, until lawyers for Riot Games, the Santa Monica company that makes League of Legends, intervened. "We had to show this was a profession," a Riot VP explains, "We had to make a case that this is just like Major League Baseball or the National Hockey League." If that sounds crazy to you, consider that the weekly matches LoL broadcasts online draw 1.7 million unique viewers—or about four times what an average NHL game gets. Several other e-sports players have gotten similar visas since Le's victory.

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Showing 3 of 38 comments
MisterPlinkett
Aug 9, 2013 3:05 AM CDT
For anyone interested in getting a glimpse of what pro gaming looks like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpbQM6QymV8
jigga.wut
Aug 8, 2013 6:31 PM CDT
I play LoL and competitive FPS. It is a 'sport' as much as golf and bowling. However, sports with contact are the only sports where participants are considered athletes.
aponch
Aug 8, 2013 3:33 PM CDT
So now it's okay for kids to train for a career in video games?