In 2018, the NBA will team up with Take Two (maker of the NBA 2K videogame series) for a groundbreaking eSports league. That’s because this time, the actual NBA franchises will own eSports teams competing for the championship, similar to the way teams can own, or even share, Development League squads. There’s no word on which teams will be the first ones to own virtual teams in the “NBA 2K eLeague,” but each one will feature five human players and the plan is to eventually have one for each of the league’s 30 teams.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told the Wall Street Journal that it won’t require competitors to travel, since the internet “gives us enormous flexibility to find the best players.” We don’t know when or how tryouts will take place, but each player will participate as a custom-created avatar. Expect to see a heavy dose of promotion for the eSports matchups during regular NBA broadcasts, as NBA commissioner Adam Silver also told the Journal that coverage should include both online and television broadcasts.
— NBA (@NBA) February 9, 2017
— NBA 2K 2K17 (@NBA2K) February 9, 2017