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NBA 2K League Launches With 17 Teams

NBA 2K league

We have more information about the NBA 2K league, a new eSports circuit is set to launch in 2018 with 17 franchises participating, including the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks.

“This is the first step in what promises to be an extraordinary league, bringing together the world’s best gamers and showcasing elite competition on an international stage,” said NBA 2K esports league Managing Director Brendan Donohue. “Our teams have expressed tremendous enthusiasm for esports, and we are looking forward to forming something truly unique for basketball and gaming fans around the globe.”

The participating teams:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Miami Heat
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • New York Knicks
  • Orlando Magic
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Utah Jazz
  • Washington Wizards

We’re still at the beginning phases of the planning.  In the coming months, the league and its teams will make a variety of announcements related to participating players, team branding, league structure and business updates.

The structure somewhat follows the NBA season. The NBA 2K league will feature the 17 teams competing over five months, followed by a playoff season. No, you won’t see Stephen Curry or LeBron James competing here: unlike NBA 2K, esports players will create their own avatars for play instead of using existing NBA players.

Some NBA teams have committed to eSports to a greater extent than others. For the Philadelphia 76ers, which has invested in Team Dignitas (a combo of Apex and Dignitas) and other eSports franchises over the last year, the announcement of the NBA 2K league was a cause for celebration. Team Dignitas already participates in other eSports leagues — League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm and Smite — so the move into the NBA 2K league is a natural.

“Under the Philadelphia 76ers leadership and guidance, Team Dignitas has solidified its place as one of the most accessible and compelling brands in the eSports space today,” said Team Dignitas CEO Jonathan Kemp in a press statement. “With the announcement of the NBA 2K league, forward-thinking franchises, like the Sixers, further cement their position as true innovators and leaders in the sports industry. The NBA, the Philadelphia 76ers, Team Dignitas and NBA 2K are storied, global brands with massive international fanbases eager for player access, original content, live events and more. When you combine that industry experience and desire to grow the game of basketball with the eSport fan’s insatiable appetite for content and access, the result will be a league of epic proportions for fan, players, brands and the league.”

“Our experience with Team Dignitas over the past few months gives us an incredible advantage as we launch this new league. Our ability to pull eSports expertise and industry acumen from our Team Dignitas executives and best practices in organizational infrastructure, branding and marketing, corporate partnerships and fan engagement from our Sixers front office makes this league a perfect pairing,” said Philadelphia 76ers Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnership and Activation Chad Biggs. “We’ve created strong relationships with game developers, come to a better understanding of the training and development needs of the eSports athletes, and generated corporate partnerships that give brands a direct portal into this burgeoning market. In addition to the new live streaming opportunities our Facebook partnership will provide fans and partners, we look forward to announcing three new corporate partnerships with dynamic activation elements in the next four months.”

Image courtesy NBA 2K.

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