NBA 2K LEAGUE – AT A GLANCE
NBA 2K League Overview
- The NBA 2K League, a joint venture between the NBA and Take-Two Interactive, is a professional esports league featuring the best NBA 2K players in the world and the first official esports league operated by a U.S. professional sports league.
- Brendan Donohue, Managing Director of the NBA 2K League, oversees all league operations.
League Structure and 2020 Season
- In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA 2K League postponed the start of its 2020 season, which had been scheduled to tip off Tuesday, March 24.
- The NBA 2K League recently hosted its first-ever “NBA 2KL Three for All Showdown,” an online 3-on-3 tournament featuring WNBA, NBA G League, NFL and XFL players, fan-organized teams, top female 2K players and social media influencers, all competing in the NBA 2K20 MyPark game mode for the chance to play against NBA 2K League teams and a share of a $25,000 prize pool.
- The first stage of the tournament took place March 27 – 29 and featured 64 fan-organized teams competing against each other in distinct 32-team XBOX and PS4 brackets. Bracket winners included Team Retribution (XBOX) and Flip The Script (PS4).
- The second stage took place March 31 – April 3 and featured 78 total teams again competing against each other in distinct XBOX and PS4 brackets. Bracket winners included the NBA 2K League’s Blazer5 Gaming (XBOX) and influencer team Huh Nation (PS4).
- The 23 NBA 2K League teams are: 76ers GC, Blazer5 Gaming, Bucks Gaming, Celtics Crossover Gaming, Cavs Legion GC, the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai, Grizz Gaming, Hawks Talon GC, Heat Check Gaming, Hornets Venom GT, Jazz Gaming, Kings Guard Gaming, Knicks Gaming, Lakers Gaming, Magic Gaming, Mavs Gaming, Nets GC, Pacers Gaming, Pistons GT, Raptors Uprising GC, T-Wolves Gaming, Warriors Gaming Squad, and Wizards District Gaming.
- Teams compete in 5 vs. 5 gameplay using unique characters (not existing NBA players).
- Teams live in their home markets during the season.
- The league will share additional information about the start of the 2020 season as it becomes available
2020 NBA 2K League Draft
- The 2020 NBA 2K League Draft delivered by Panera Bread took place Saturday, Feb. 22 at Terminal 5 in New York City and was livestreamed on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.
- Wizards District Gaming selected John “JBM” Mascone of Irvington, NY with the No. 1 overall pick.
- Hu “Lucky_Yi_Wesley” Yi was selected 56th overall by the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai, becoming the first Chinese player drafted into the NBA 2K League.
- With the addition of the two expansion teams – Hornets Venom GT and the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai – 138 players will compete in the 2020 NBA 2K League season.
- During the offseason, 70 players who competed in the 2019 season were retained, leaving 68 roster spots available.
- The 228 draft-eligible player pool consisted of 147 new players who were selected by the league through the NBA 2K League Combine, 21 players from the 11 team-hosted Pro-Am tournaments, five players from the league’s first European Invitational, five players from the league’s second Asia-Pacific (APAC) Invitational, and 50 unretained players from the 2019 season.
Tryout Process for 2020 Season
- The NBA 2K League Qualifier: From Oct. 22 – Nov. 10, players had to complete an online application and win 50 games in NBA 2K20’s Pro-Am mode or at The Rec, while winning at least 50 percent of their games.
- The NBA 2K League Combine: From Nov. 18 – Dec. 9 for players who completed Qualifier.
- After interviews with a league representative took place, conditional offers for the NBA 2K League Draft Pool were made to the top 150 players during the week of Jan. 13.
- The NBA 2K League European Invitational, the league’s first-ever qualifying event in Europe, took place Dec. 13 – 14 in London. The two-day event identified several elite players from Europe who were made eligible for the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft.
- The second NBA 2K League APAC Invitational took place Jan. 20 – 21 in Seoul. The two-day event identified several elite players from the APAC region who were made eligible for the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft.
- For the first time this offseason, teams hosted Pro-Am tournaments in their local markets with draft eligibility among the prizes.
- 11 teams hosted Pro-Am tournaments in their local markets with participants from each tournament awarded spots in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft pool.
- NBA 2K League content has generated more than 356 million video views across all NBA and NBA 2K League social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch and YouTube).
- The NBA 2K League and its teams have more than 2 million combined followers on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
- NBA 2K League partners include Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Champion Athleticwear, Facebook, GameStop, HyperX, New Era, Panera Bread, Raynor Gaming, SCUF Gaming, Stance, Twitch and YouTube.
- Chiquita Evans (then with Warriors Gaming Squad) and Tim “oLARRY” Anselimo (Cavs Legion GC) were both nominated for a new award at the 2019 ESPYs for “Best Esports Moment”; Chiquita was nominated for becoming the first woman to be drafted into the NBA 2K League, and oLARRY won for his inspirational return to the league following the tragic shooting in Jacksonville in August 2018.
About NBA 2K
- The NBA 2K series has sold nearly 94 million units worldwide, including more than 7 million units each for the past seven editions.
- NBA 2K20 has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide, up slightly from last year’s edition during the same time period.
- NBA 2K20 content has generated more than 276 million views on YouTube and more than 8 million hours watched on Twitch across hundreds of channels.
- NBA 2K Online in China remains the #1 PC online sports game in China with more than 48 million registered users.
- The global esports audience will reach 453.8 million this year and will generate revenues of $1.1 billion (+26.7% YoY; Source: Newzoo, 2019).
- A number of NBA teams, owners and former players are already looking to the future of the esports industry, investing in esports franchises/holding companies.