The newly-launched team is the first NBA 2K League franchise to be located outside of North America and not be affiliated with an NBA side.
The announcement was made by Chris Park, CEO of Gen.G during the NBA 2K League APAC Invitational at the Nexon Arena in Seoul, Korea. The organisation revealed that it would be breaking new ground by joining the league in September last year. Park commented on the development: “The 2020 season will be historic for both Gen.G and the NBA 2K League’s bright future in Asia.”
Gen.G and NBA 2K League are working together as part of a “long-term strategic relationship” to help expand the global footprint of the competition. The team will practice out of the organisation’s Los Angeles headquarters.
Gen.G previously hosted the Shanghai Invitational, a Pro-Am tournament with 20 Chinese NBA 2K players. From there seven players were invited to the recent APAC Invitational, an event in which league personnel will be present to identify players for the upcoming draft.
Along with the announcement of the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai brand, the NBA 2K League launched an official channel on Chinese social network Weibo. The account will serve as the league’s primary method to engage with its Chinese fans.
Esports Insider says: China boasts roughly 500 million fans of the NBA itself, presenting a strong crossover opportunity between basketball and esports consumer markets. The close collaborations and new team are strong efforts by both Gen.G and the NBA 2K League to capture a share of this market. The Weibo channel launch also indicates a strong buy-in from the League when it comes to its potential Chinese audience.