The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Take-Two Interactive reveal plans to launch the NBA 2K eLeague.
The league will launch next year and will consist of teams operated by real NBA franchises. The move marks the first time that an official eSports league will be operated by a professional sports league in the United States.
The founding teams – the names of which are yet to revealed – will be composed of five professional players who will play as user-created avatars. The NBA 2K eLeague will follow the traditional league format with head-to-head matches throughout the regular basketball season. The season will conclude with play-offs, and a championship final, just like the real thing.
NBA commissioner, Adam 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.”
Strauss Zelnick, chairman and CEO of Take-Two, 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.”
Their happiness with the new partnership is captured for all time in this photo.
Over 68 million NBA 2K games have been sold worldwide since Take-Two partnered with the NBA 1998. The most recent release, NBA 2K17, was released to acclaim from fans of the sport last year, and has so far sold 7 million copies. The game also had a starring role in the unveiling of the Nintendo Switch and is set to come to the new console later this year.