Seventeen NBA teams plan to participate in the upcoming NBA2K league, according to an announcement last Thursday.
The league will start in 2018 with the following teams being involved: the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards.
The creation of the league was announced in February as a joint venture between the NBA and Take-Two, the owner of 2K Games. Given the popularity of the NBA2K franchise and eSports, this is a logical step for the league to take.
“This is the first step in what promises to be an extraordinary league, bringing together the world’s best gamers and showcasing elite competition on an international stage,” NBA 2K esports league managing director Brendan Donohue said, per ESPN.com. “Our teams have expressed tremendous enthusiasm for esports, and we are looking forward to forming something truly unique for basketball and gaming fans around the globe.”
The international popularity of eSports has to be a major factor in the decision to launch this. The NBA has a solid base in China, as well as the rest of Asia, and this is a good way to expand there.
Whether the league is successful in the United States is another question yet to be answered. But we expect it to succeed internationally regardless, making it a prudent investment by the league.