The NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software are partnering to launch an esports league focused around the NBA 2K series.
"We believe we have a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the young and growing eSports community,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a press release. “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."
The league, set to debut in 2018, will consist of 30 teams operated by each NBA franchise, with each team composed of five players each. Players will not compete with avatars of real NBA players, instead creating their own avatars to compete. Teams will compete in a regular season, followed up by bracketed playoffs and a championship match.
"We are proud to expand our strong relationship with the NBA and co-create the NBA 2K eLeague," Strauss Zelnick, Chairman and CEO of Take-Two, said in a statement. "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."
In the past, individual NBA owners have slowly invested into esports in the past two years. Notably, the Philadelphia 76ers purchased Team Dignitas and Apex Gaming last September, while the Miami Heat purchased a stake in Misfits in January.
Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.