NBA To Partner Up On Launch Of ‘NBA 2K eLeague’

NBA To Partner Up On Launch Of ‘NBA 2K eLeague’

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The NBA is about to make history by partnering in the launch of the first eSports league operated by one of the four major pro sports leagues in the country.

NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software announced early Thursday morning that they are bringing some of the best gamers in the world together, who will represent actual teams, to compete in an effort to expand the NBA’s global brand.

The NBA is entering the realm of eSports.

“The large part of my mission is to grow the game of basketball,” Silver told The Associated Press. “There’s going to be an opportunity for this first of a kind league to attract a group of gamers who might be playing some other game. Now, they can say `Maybe I couldn’t play for the Knicks, because I didn’t have the physical prowess to compete at that level. But I do have the mental and physical prowess to compete as an egamer for the eKnicks.”‘

“NBA 2K eLeague” is scheduled to debut in 2018. The league will start with about 8-12 teams – Silver did not say which teams, but noted that eventually all 30 NBA teams will be represented. Each NBA owner is being given the opportunity to build teams at their own pace.

“The idea sounds amazing,” said Stephon Johnson, an Atlanta native and frequent online video game player who attends Grambling State University. “Combining NBA 2K gamers with the actual the NBA would be awesome. A lot of us gamers had once dreamt of playing in the NBA.”

NBA teams and Take-Two will conduct a recruiting process to select gamers which will run them through a virtual combine. From there the gamers will be selected via a draft which Silver indicated will either be televised or be available via online streaming.

Much like a real NBA season, gamers will go through an 82-game season, playoffs and the top teams will compete for a championship.

“We want to make this as real as possible,” said Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two, the parent company of 2K games. He said there will be a cash prize for the winner similar to some of the past NBA 2K tournaments that awarded a $250,000 grand prize.

The success of “NBA 2K16 Road to the Finals” was a catalyst to the launching of this idea.

“People already have their own consoles and computers,” Zelnick said. “I do think that teams will be fully engaged with training players. That could mean providing gear, but it won’t be a very significant investment.”

Zelnick said NBA teams could train gamers, who will be using their own consoles.

“People already have their own consoles and computers,” Zelnick said. “I do think that teams will be fully engaged with training players. That could mean providing gear, but it won’t be a very significant investment.”

“There are risks, but if this does work, this will pay off enormously,” Ryan McCaffrey, an executive editor at the entertainment media company Image Games Network, said. “Not necessarily for the financial in the short term, but more of the longevity and health of the NBA and brand with retaining that young audience. I think them tying the eLeague to the actual NBA teams is brilliant.”

Are you ready to game? The NBA certainly hopes so.