The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Take-Two Interactive Software have recently announced a new partnership to launch the NBA 2K eLeague. This new gaming league will bring together the best NBA 2K players in the world to compete against one another in a standard pro sports league format consisting of a regular season, playoff bracket, and eventual championship matchup. The NBA’s inclusions in this marks the first time that a U.S. professional sports league will operate an eSports league.
The NBA 2K eLeague is set to launch in 2018 and will consist of teams run by real NBA franchises. Each team will consist of five professional eSports players from the NBA 2K community and each of these players will use their own user-created avatars when playing the game. The initial members of the NBA 2K eLeague will be announced within the coming months.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke about the new partnership with Take-Two and gave the following statement:
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.
Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two also gave a quote about the new eSports league saying,
We are proud to expand our strong relationship with the NBA and co-create the NBA 2K eLeague. 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.
There’s still a lot left to learn about this new eSports league and more details will arrive over the next few weeks and months. NBA 2K18 should launch later this year and will be the first game in the series to be used in this new eSports league when it begins next year.