League of Legends is the first video game to be recognised as a professional sport by the US State Department.
The status means that professional players born outside the US are now able to apply for a special visa to live and compete there.
The eight teams competing in developer Riot Games’ League Championship Series have been granted such visas, and other leagues may also apply to be similarly recognised.
Until now, international League of Legends players hoping to compete in the US needed to jump through a series of legal hoops in order to enter the country and play professionally.
Dustin Beck, Riot’s vice president of eSports, told Polygon that today’s ruling legitimised all competitive gaming.
“Now we have the same designation as the NBA or NHL or other professional sports leagues. This opens the gates for other professional League of Legends players to make the transfer to US teams.”
“It’s like David Beckham coming to LA Galaxy.”