The NBA is making its venture into the eSports world in 2018 with the launch of the NBA 2K eLeague in partnership with Take-Two, the company that develops the NBA 2K franchise.
The new league will feature teams operated by NBA franchises and will consist of five eSports players that will play as user-created avatars. The league will operate like any sports league with head-to-head matchups in the regular season with a bracketed playoff leading to the championship matchup.
“We believe we have a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the young and growing eSports community,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a release. “We look forward to combining our best-in-class NBA sports team operators with Take-Two’s competitive gaming expertise to create a brand new league experience.”
While this will be the first eSports league owned and operated by a professional sports league, this isn’t the first foray into the eSports world from those in the NBA. The Philadelphia 76ers own an eSports team, Grizzlies owner Stephen Kaplan has ownership stake in a team and another is owned by a group that includes Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, Magic Johnson and Warriors co-owner Peter Gruber.
Heck, even Shaq and Rick Fox have gotten into the act.
The NBA 2K League is the latest effort by the NBA to stay on the leading edge of trends. There’s no note of any broadcast details for the 2K League, but one would expect, with Turner being an NBA partner that already broadcasts eSports tournaments, there to be some kind of partnership with the 2K League as well for televising and streaming events.