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. The league’s fourth season will tip off this spring.
- 2020 NBA 2K League Champion – Wizards District Gaming
- 2019 NBA 2K League Champion – T-Wolves Gaming
- 2018 NBA 2K League Champion – Knicks Gaming
- NBA 2K League President 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.
- The NBA 2K League will award $1.5 million in prize money throughout the 2021 season, with the largest prize pool reserved for the 2021 NBA 2K League champions.
- 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 23rd NBA 2K League team and 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.
2021 NBA 2K League Draft
- The 2021 NBA 2K League Draft was held virtually on Saturday, March 13 and livestreamed on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.
- The 2021 Draft was the most-watched NBA 2K League Draft to date, up 56% YoY in unique viewers on Twitch as compared to 2020.
- Lakers Gaming selected Arshia “Krazy” Karimi of Dallas, Texas, with the No. 1 overall pick
- Alaina “DjLayyy” Haney of St. Louis, Missouri was selected 28th overall by Celtics Crossover Gaming, and Ziah “ziah” Minor of Washington, D.C. was selected 52nd overall by Mavs Gaming, becoming the second and third women, respectively, to be drafted in the NBA 2K League.
- Five international players from four countries were selected, including the first-ever NBA 2K League players from Australia and Spain: Mario “avemario32” Ortega Ariza (Spain; 41st overall to Cavs Legion GC) and Meason “xMiLo—” Camille (Australia; 62nd overall to Pistons GT). In total, 10 international players from five countries and territories will compete in the league’s fourth season.
- The 2021 draft pool consisted of 265 players. In addition to unretained players from last season, the draft pool also included players who earned eligibility through the NBA 2K League Draft Prospect Series, international qualifying events over the last two offseasons, and the NBA 2K League Women in Gaming initiative, or by being identified by the NBA 2K League and its teams as high-performing players in the 2K community.
- 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.
- Games aired live on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels, in addition to select games airing live on ESPN2, ESPN’s digital platforms, Sportsnet in Canada, 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.
- 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 as compared to the 2019 season.
- NBA 2K League content has generated more than 441 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).
- NBA 2K League partners include Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Champion Athleticwear, Dash Radio, DoorDash, ESRevolution, Loco, Mondelēz International, Raynor Gaming, SAP, SCUF Gaming, Snickers, Sport1, Twitch, Wilson and YouTube.
About NBA 2K
- Top-rated NBA video game series for the last 22 years
- NBA 2K series has sold in nearly 110 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 has sold-in over 15 million units worldwide, up 26% over NBA 2K19 in the same period.
- 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 474 million this year and will generate revenues of $1.08 billion (+14.5% YoY; Source: Newzoo, 2021).
- 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.
* Draft eligibility is contingent on passing a background check and satisfying all NBA 2K League eligibility requirements.