The NBA 2K Players Tournament has been announced by 2K, the NBA, and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA).
The NBA 2K20 event will feature 16 current NBA players, including top seeds Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks.
Players will compete in a single-elimination format on Xbox One, where the NBA 2K20 champion will receive a $100,000 (£80,687) prize to donate to the charity of their choice in support of ongoing coronavirus relief efforts.
Jason Argent, Senior Vice President in Sports Strategy and Licensing at 2K, spoke on the initiative: “We’re thrilled to partner with the NBA and NBPA to bring basketball back to fans throughout the world and to help those in need during these uncertain times. Entertainment, especially sports, has the ability to bring communities together—including athletes, fans and families—and we hope that everyone will enjoy the tournament.”
Players’ seeding is determined by competitors’ NBA 2K rating and tenure. Before the tournament, each player will choose eight NBA teams which can only be used once. Rounds one and two will be single elimination, with the semi-finals and finals switching to a best-of-three format.
Matt Holt, SVP of Global Partnerships for NBA, added: “We are excited to tip off the first ‘NBA 2K Players Tournament’ in partnership with the NBPA and 2K, continuing an ongoing effort to stay connected with NBA fans around the world, while also giving back in this time of need.”
Tournament coverage begins on April 3rd at 7:00 pm EST on ESPN. Kicking off the event is a matchup between Derrick Jones Jr. and Kevin Durant. Additional matches will continue through April 12th, with every game debuting on either ESPN or ESPN2. The action can also be found on the ESPN app, NBA.com, the NBA app, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook.
Esports Insider says: The NBA is making impressive strides to continue fan engagement during the coronavirus pandemic. With sports falling under cancelled events, this could be the best way to stay connected and interject a sense of normalcy for the foreseeable future. Esports has bridged the gap between video games and mainstream entertainment, and it’ll be interesting to see how traditional leagues continue to adapt and take advantage of such avenues.