ESPN reports that the NBA and Take Two Interactive have joined forced to create an eSports League based on the NBA 2K series.
Its anticipated that each of the NBA teams will eventually have a team in this newly developed league. The teams will consist of 5 individuals playing out a 5-month season. The league is scheduled to begin in 2018. The teams will play head-to-head and have playoffs leading up to a championship.
The NBA will hold an initial draft of esports players, and each NBA franchise will pick five to play as its eLeague team. They will draw salaries, train and essentially treat the NBA 2K eLeague as full-time jobs during the season.
It’s clear that this is the next step for esports to become more mainstream. The NBA investment in this league is likely substantial with the prospects of it becoming a lucrative stream of revenue for the league. The report indicates that they will hold events to promote the league, sign sponsorships, sell tickets and produce merchandise.
Perhaps the only drawback for those into the realism of the video games, is that real-life players will not be represented in the games. Players will come up with their own avatars. Perhaps the inability to use NBA players likenesses is an issue that has yet to be discussed between the league and the players union.