After watching the incredible success NASCAR had with eNASCAR the past two weeks, the NBA is now getting ready to embrace eSports with a players-only 2K tournament starting on Friday. As the tournament draws closer, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and Phoenix Suns center DeAndre Ayton are emerging as the co-favorites to come away with the title.
Basketball fans looking for some entertainment will be able to watch the 16-player tournament on ESPN. The event is expected to last 10 days and will provide fans with a chance to see some of their favorite athletes compete in 2K and trash talks.
Of course, the action can be even more compelling for fans with interest in betting on the NBA stars battling it out on the virtual court. Fans can bet on the individual matchups and place some money down on the overall winner.
- Kevin Durant and DeAndre Ayton are the current favorites with 5/1 odds.
- Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young (6/1) has been talking up his skills on Instagram
- Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (8/1) will be playing after being medically cleared from COVID-19
- Portland Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside is getting the fans on his side. He started at 13/1 odds but has since seen support push the line to 8/1.
The first round of the tournament will feature some exciting matchups with even bigger stars. It’s a great opportunity for many of the game’s young players to become even more recognized.
- Kevin Durant will face Derrick Jones Jr.
- Trae Young faces Harrison Barnes
- Hassan Whiteside matches up against Patrick Beverley
- Donovan Mitchell will battle Rui Hachimura
- Devin Booker faces Michael Porter Jr.
- All-Star centers Andre Drummond and DeMarcus Cousins will face off.
- Zach LaVine will be an underdog against DeAndre Ayton.
- Montrezl Harrell vs. Domantis Sabonis is the sleeper matchup.
Events like this are exactly the kind of thing that pro sports organizations must embrace. The NBA is taking the smart approach by following NASCAR’s path and partnering with ESPN should help this reach an even wider audience.
NASCAR embraced iRacing quickly and after setting an eSports broadcast record with over 900,000 viewers in its inaugural broadcast, Fox Sports 1 drew more than one million viewers in the iRacing broadcast this past Sunday. Allowing fans to bet on the action proved to help generate even more interest, too.
While fans might not have the traditional sports we’re all used to during the COVID-19 pandemic eSports can fill the void everyone is experiencing. Let’s hope that this is only the beginning and we see more partnerships between networks and major sports through eSports broadcasts.