League of Legends' official tournament has been recognised as a professional sport by the US State Department.

Professional sport status has been granted to the eight teams that compete in Riot Games’ League Championship Series, although other leagues may now apply to be similarly recognised.

The change allows players born outside the US to live and work in America under the same visa as any other professional sports player.

Previously, overseas League Championship Series players had to go through a complicated series of applications to take part in the tournament.

Speaking with Polygon, Riot Games vice president of eSports Dustin Beck said the change followed a long process during which Riot tried to convince the State Department that eSports were a viable career path.

"This is a watershed moment," said Beck.

"It validates eSports as a sport.

"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."

The first player to take advantage of the change will be Danny "Shiptur" Le, who will leave his native Canada to join the US-based Team Coast.