Commissioner Silver Launches NBA 2K ELeague As Esports, Traditional Sports Marry Up
[toc]NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick announced plans to launch a new esports league.
The NBA 2K eLeague, at a glanceThe NBA 2K eLeague will kick off in 2018 with five-person esports teams playing for their sponsor NBA teams using Take-Two’s NBA 2K series of video games. Initially, eight to twelve of the NBA teams will field esports teams. Silver said that eventually all 30 teams will be represented in the new eleague. Teams will go through the virtual equivalent of the traditional draft process to select their players. The combine and draft will either be televised or streamed online. Silver said:
“We believe we have a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the young and growing eSports community. 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.”For Take-Two, Zelnick added:
“Through the NBA 2K series, which is renowned throughout the world for capturing the authenticity of the NBA and the passion of its fans, we have a proven track record of highly successful collaboration. With this new venture, Take-Two and the NBA aim to fuel the accelerating growth of eSports and take the thrill of competition to exciting new heights.”
France provided the blueprint for the partnershipThe deal has received a huge twitter response, including comments that the deal is the first of its kind. up and running in France. In November of last year, all 20 French soccer teams in Ligue 1 launched the e-LEAGUE 1 in partnership with EA Sports. EA owns the FIFA 17 game. At the time, ESBR suggested that the deal provided a template for other traditional sports to follow. Plenty of traditional sports clubs have expressed their enthusiasm for esports. Franchises have employed a variety of strategies, ranging from sponsoring individual players to buying full spectrum esports teams. For sports where a popular video game version exists, the e-LEAGUE1 and NBA 2K eLeague are the most natural routes into exploiting the growing enthusiasm for esports. The difficulty is getting all the teams in a league to jump on board. Silver explained the motivation in a comment to 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.”