The National Basketball Association and Take-Two Interactive announced a deal today that that will meld the hardwood pro league with its eSports counterpart. The agreement will allow the 30 NBA teams to create their own team of pro eSports players and manage them as part of a new NBA 2K eLeague.
The competitions will begin next year, and marks the first time a major U.S. sports league has operated its own eSports league. The setup will be run much like current NBA teams, with each being responsible for player salaries, marketing, licenesing and other expenses, according to the Wall Street Journal. No team has officially committed to participate, but all have expressed interest, according to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. It is likely only half would participate in the first season, but “eventually the plan is to have all 30 teams participating,” he said. “Think of eBulls against the eKnicks.”
Both the NBA and Take-Two have investment in the eLeague, although financial terms were not disclosed. Online and broadcast deals are also expected to be worked out, and the league is currently trying to find sponsors and advertisers. All games are expected to happen during the NBA season and will get prominent mentions during NBA broadcasts, Silver said.
Team tryouts are still up in the air, as the pro teams decide if they will particpate.
The Philadelphia 76ers have already seen merit in eSports, having purchased a controlling interest in eSports teams Dignitas and Apex back in September.
John Keefer posted a new article, NBA, Take-Two Agree to Create First Pro eSports League
that's a fairly wrong headline