Tonight you can catch the semi-finals and finals of the first-ever NBA 2K Players Tournament, with two Clippers (Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley) and Two Suns (Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton) fighting for the title.
However, it may not be the last 2K Players Tournament you see.
This esports event has gotten big enough ratings and drawn enough interest that there may be more of them, even after live games return, executives told Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times.
“We’re proud of what we’ve pulled off here,” said Matt Holt, the NBA’s senior vice president of global partnerships. “And I think we will try to do more of these in the future, regardless if we’re in the current situation or if we have live sports back.”
“The tournament has been incredibly well received by viewers, both through traditional TV viewership channels, and social streaming and engagement,” Jason Argent, NBA 2K’s senior vice president for sports strategy and licensing, wrote in an email…
Viewership numbers also were not disclosed by Argent, but he wrote that “we’re pretty delighted by the reach that we’ve been able to achieve, including becoming ESPN’s most-watched esports broadcast in history.”
How viewership would fare when there were live games to watch and not the hunger for live sports we have right now is a valid question. However, the only way to find out is to have another tournament. The players would be down for it, more stakes could be put on the line (money toward a charity?), and the production value could even go up when guys aren’t stuck at home by themselves.
Then again, the banter between guys sitting at home talking — and Beverley’s trash talk — is part of the draw.
It’s all been entertaining enough that this esports experiment likely will be back. Maybe before live games are.