The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc have announced the NBA 2K eLeague, a new gaming league that will bring together the best NBA 2K video game players in the world.
Set to debut in 2018, the groundbreaking NBA 2K eLeague will consist of teams operated by actual NBA franchises. The founding teams, each composed of five professional eSports players, will be announced in the coming months. The NBA 2K eLeague will follow a professional sports league format: competing head-to-head throughout a regular season, participating in a bracketed playoff system, and concluding with a championship matchup.
Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner said: “The popularity of NBA 2K with the young and growing esports community provides a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the gaming community”. He added: “We look forward to combining our best-in-class NBA team operators with Take-Two’s competitive gaming expertise to create a brand new league experience.”
Strauss Zelnick, Chairman and CEO of Take-Two commenteD: “We are proud to expand our highly successful relationship with the NBA and co-create the NBA 2K eLeague. The NBA 2K series is renowned throughout the world for capturing the authenticity of the NBA and the passion of its fans. Esports is a growing segment of our industry, and we will aim to take the thrill of competition to exciting new heights through our partnership with the NBA.”
In December, 2K launched its second official esports competition – the NBA 2K17 All-Star Tournament. It offers teams the chance at a $250,000 grand prize and a trip to NBA All-Star 2017.
Esports Insider says: NBA esports could be the American equivalent to FIFA. It’s almost surprising there’s been no traction already, considering the investment NBA has already shown into the more “hardcore” side of esports. Whether NBA 2k can really make it as an esport remains to be seen; but it’ll be interesting to see.