Game developer 2K has announced One Up as its official on-demand esports platform for the NBA 2K franchise in a multi-year deal.
The partnership will begin with the release of the franchise’s next instalment — NBA 2K24 — on September 8th 2023.
According to a release, One Up will host a series of free-to-enter online tournaments following the launch of the game. As a result, this partnership should provide amateur gamers in NBA 2K with a pathway to participate in competitive gaming tournaments.
Moreover, the platform will leverage NBA 2K’s in-game promotions and social media to help drive awareness and engagement.
In the release, Brandon Pitts, One Up CEO, touted the platform as a way for players to demonstrate their ability, whilst gaining rewards. “At the end of the day, gamers want to compete to showcase their skills, and now they can do that and earn like the pros,” he said.
Pitts founded One Up in 2019, with its Play One Up app enabling gamers to monetise their skills in one-on-one matchups or tournament gameplay.
The release also adds that One Up already has 750,000 registered players and has facilitated more than $20m (~£15.6m) in payouts. Pitts told Esports Insider that of the 750,000, there are already “six figures that play NBA 2K”.
On potential prize pools for NBA 2K24, he added that One Up has “intentions on unveiling that in mid-September. … but it’s going to be about $1m (~£779,000).”
Explaining how the partnership came to fruition, Pitts pointed to a collaboration with basketball player LaMelo Ball that took place last year as the catalyst: “LaMelo Ball from the Charlotte Hornets wanted to host a big tournament for his fans and his followers with a big $25,000 prize pool and Puma ended up being the sponsor.
“These finalists got to fly on a private jet and that caught the attention of 2K, and so they really recognised our body of work through the collaboration with LaMelo. We ended up having discussions of how we could partner, and those discussions ultimately led to the partnership.”
NBA 2K is already an established esports title through the NBA 2K League. Pitts highlighted that the league will continue to operate independently and separately from One Up’s tournaments.