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.
- The NBA 2K League tipped off its inaugural season in May 2018 with 17 teams, each affiliated with an NBA team. Since then the league has expanded to 23 teams, 22 of which are affiliated with NBA teams, and recently completed its third season.
- 2018 NBA 2K League Champion – Knicks Gaming
- 2019 NBA 2K League Champion – T-Wolves Gaming
- 2020 NBA 2K League Champion – Wizards District Gaming
- NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue oversees all league operations.
- 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.
- In September 2019, Gen.G – the global esports organization connecting the best gamers in the U.S. and Asia – launched the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai as the centerpiece of a long-term strategic relationship between the NBA 2K League and Gen.G to grow the NBA 2K League’s global player pool and fanbase.
Tryout Process for 2021 Season
- NBA 2K League Draft Prospect Series: From October – early December, NBA 2K League teams will host more than 35 NBA 2K21 Pro-Am tournaments on Sony PlayStation 4 or Microsoft Xbox One.
- In January, following the release of Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation consoles, the NBA 2K League Draft Prospect Series will continue with up to eight NBA 2K League teams hosting NBA 2K21 Pro-Am tournaments on Sony PlayStation 5 or Microsoft Xbox Series X.
- All players on the winning team from each team hosted tournament—on both current generation consoles and next generation consoles—will be made eligible for the 2021 NBA 2K League Draft
- NBA 2K League teams will also be able to select one player not on the winning team of each tournament they host to receive a “Prospect Badge” and become Draft-eligible.
- NBA 2K League’s winners’ event, a showcase of the winning teams from the NBA 2K League Draft Prospect Series tournaments on current generation consoles, will take place in December.
- The NBA 2K League’s second Women in Gaming Development Camp will take place in February and will feature top female players showcasing their skills as they compete alongside and against current NBA 2K League players.
- The NBA 2K League will award additional Draft eligibility to a select number of players, including international players, participants in the Women in Gaming Development Camp, and high-performing players in the 2K community, as determined by league and team officials.
- NBA 2K League Combine: In February, select players who are eligible for the 2021 NBA 2K League Draft will compete against only each other, providing NBA 2K League teams with an unparalleled opportunity to evaluate players before the Draft as they compete in high intensity gameplay.
- The 2020 NBA 2K League regular season began May 5 and concluded August 28 with the 2020 NBA 2K League Finals delivered by DoorDash.
- Wizards District Gaming won the 2020 NBA 2K League Finals after defeating Warriors Gaming Squad 3-1 in the best-of-five series.
- The entire 2020 NBA 2K League season was played remotely with all 23 teams participating from their local markets.
- All games aired live on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch channel, in addition to select games airing live on ESPN2, ESPN’s digital platforms, Sportsnet in Canada and the NBA 2K League’s YouTube channel, and on delay on eGG Network in Southeast Asia and Loco in India. Dash Radio’s Nothin’ But Net channel also provided live game coverage.
- ESPN2 picked up a total of 29 NBA 2K League broadcasts throughout the 2020 season.
- The NBA 2K League implemented an innovative production model that allowed for a remote broadcast in all 23 team markets and NBA 2K League broadcasters to announce games in their homes from a virtual NBA 2K League Studio.
- Raptors Uprising GC won the first two in-season tournaments – THE TIPOFF and THE TURN powered by AT&T – becoming the first team in NBA 2K League history to win the first two tournaments of the season. Raptors Uprising GC went on to become the first team in NBA 2K League history to complete the regular season with an undefeated 16-0 record.
2020 NBA 2K League Draft
- The 2020 NBA 2K League Draft delivered by Panera Bread took place 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. JBM went on to become the first-ever No. 1 overall pick in NBA 2K League history to win an NBA 2K League championship.
- With the addition of the two expansion teams – Hornets Venom GT and the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai – 139 players competed 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.
- Through the 2020 NBA 2K League season, 2K League broadcasts on Twitch were up 69% YoY in average unique viewers per stream, up 48% YoY in average minute audience per stream, and up 55% YoY in average minutes watched per stream compared to the 2019 season.
- NBA 2K League content has generated more than 415 million video views across all NBA and NBA 2K League social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch and YouTube).
- The NBA 2K League and its teams have more than 2 million combined followers on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
- During the 2020 season, NBA 2K League partners included Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Champion Athleticwear, Dash Radio, DoorDash, eGG Network, ESPN, Facebook, GameStop, HyperX, Jostens, Loco, Panera Bread, Raynor Gaming, SAP, SCUF Gaming, Snickers, Stance, Twitch and YouTube.
About NBA 2K
- Series has sold-in nearly 100 million units worldwide.
- NBA 2K17 remains the highest-rated sports game of the current console generation.
- NBA 2K19 has sold-in more than 12 million units.
- NBA 2K20 content has generated nearly 2.2 billion views on YouTube and more than 64 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 49.5 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.