NBA 2K is one of the most popular video game franchises on the market. eSports leagues are packing arenas nationwide with fans.
The NBA sees the opportunity, so the league is partnering with Take-Two Interactive Software — makers of the NBA 2K video game series — to launch an eSports league based on the NBA 2K series. It is set to begin in 2018.
This would be the first official eSports league operated by a professional sports league in the United States. The goal is to have 30 NBA 2K teams, each owned and paired with an NBA franchise. Those five-man teams will play head-to-head through a five-month season, then head to the playoffs and eventually a championship series.
“We believe we have a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the young and growing eSports community,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “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.”
The one key difference between the league teams and the NBA 2K you play at home is actual NBA players will not be represented in these 2K games, rather the avatars will come from the players themselves, based on their preferences and styles.
However the league will sell tickets — eSports tournaments for other games fill NBA arenas across the nation — and have merchandise for the teams. There are a handful of NBA owners — and a couple of players — who have investments in eLeague sports teams, this is just a smart progression of that process.