The NBA 2K League has set a deadline of June 29th for NBA teams looking to participate in the leagues 2019 season. There are 30 teams overall and currently, 17 participating in the league leaving 13 teams open to join.
Brendan Donohue, NBA 2K League Managing Director told Sports Business Daily: “I think we’ll get to 30 teams, eventually, if it’s spread out over the next couple years, that’s very realistic.”
The first 17 teams paid $750,000 (£563,000) and committed to a three-year participation, but there are no further details on if the buy-in will be larger going into the second season. The league held a live draft for its inaugural season and each team has moved all six of it’s players to its respective cities with housing, salaries and practice in custom facilities. The league also holds its games weekly at the NBA 2K League Studio Powered by Intel in Queens, New York meaning teams have to provide transportation for its players every week. If the league plans on eventually moving to a structure where each team travel to its opponent’s city that will bring in more questions about finances in the league and each team.
In retrospect of competing esports and leagues, the NBA 2K League has had a low start in viewership holding around 5,000 concurrent viewers regularly. Regardless, it has still brought attention from endemic and non-endemic sponsorships alike including State Farm, Scuf Gaming, Hot Pockets, and HyperX.
The NBA 2K League began its inaugural season May 1st with the 76ers GC winning the Tip-Off Tournament and most recently Blazers Gaming took the trophy at the leagues mid-season tournament, The Turn. Playoffs for the first season begin August 17 and by then we’ll know for sure how far the 2K League will be expanding before the second season begins, which also has not been set.
Esports Insider says: Skeptics are quick to say the NBA 2K League is off to a disappointing start based on viewership but there’s no doubt the league itself has gained popularity among fans of the game, esports fanatics, and sponsorships. The expansion into the second season is inevitable and it will be interesting to see which teams will join considering the amount left that are in major markets.