It seems like a slam dunk.
ESPN.com reports that the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software “are partnering to form a first-of-its-kind esports league centered around the NBA 2K series.” The NBA 2K video game is made by Take-Two.
It appears the league, which is tentatively scheduled to launch in 2018, will bring to life the approach that many gamers take on their own.
ESPN reports that the eLeague “eventually will feature 30 NBA 2K teams, each owned by one of the real-life NBA franchises, according to NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take-Two. The teams, comprised of five human players, will play out a five-month season that mirrors the real NBA season. It will proceed through a regular season of head-to-head games and then to playoffs and a championship matchup.”
Think you’re good enough to play? The league will have a draft, with each NBA franchise picking five players for its eLeague team. According to ESPN, “They will draw salaries, train and essentially treat the NBA 2K eLeague as full-time jobs during the season.”
Taylor Soper of Geekwire outlines how this kind of approach is not new for the NBA: Not only have “several NBA owners have invested in professional gaming teams,” but also “the NBA is generally known to be forward-thinking compared to other big leagues. This season, it is streaming one game per week in virtual reality; it is streaming pre-game shows on Twitter; it streamed a game on Facebook Live; it created a new “mobile view” streaming feature; and the league also recently inked a long-term dealwith Sportradar and Second Spectrum for a new player-tracking system and expanded global distribution of statistics.”