Professional eSports are taking off in Finland – pro players now officially recognized as athletes

The Finnish Central Tax Board considers esports competitors to be athletes. According to a decision freshly issued by the board: "A broad interpretation of sports, in addition to physical competition can also mean mental games of skill, where success is primarily based on something other than physical performance."

The subject of the rendered decision is a Finnish tax resident playing videogames for an American organization. In the contract between the player and the team, the player is committed to participate in tournaments, practice games, marketing events, interviews and photo shoots. The player is paid a monthly salary and various other bonuses, such as part of the tournament winnings.

The ruling is not merely symbolic either, as earnings officially deemed to be income from professional sports activities can bepartiallyinvested in a tax-sheltered investment fund meant to smooth out the transition as one's sports career starts winding down.

overwatch-roster-blizzard.jpg?preset=article-image

Launched in May 2016, Overwatch boasts 30 million registered players. With frequent updates of content, balance and cosmetics game developer Blizzard Entertainment is hell-bent on having it become an esports mainstay.Blizzard Entertainment

In other esports news, major Finnish electronics chain Gigantti has announced their arrival to the professional gaming scene by picking up the entire former roster of Ninjas in Pyjamas – a Swedish esports organization – and reforming it as Team Gigantti. All team members are full-time players and Gigantti claims to be committing to esports for the long run.

While the squad failed to qualify for the Overwatch World Cup in an event held in Sydney, Australia a week ago, Team Gigantti didn’t take long to claim their first notable win: a 3-0 victory in the finals of ASUS ROG's Assembly Summer Overwatch tournament in Helsinki, Finland on 4 August.

Team Gigantti will next compete against Europe's top teams in the Overwatch Contenders league that begins the week of 14 August.

Read more news on our site.

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