NEW YORK – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO) today announced plans to launch the NBA 2K eLeague, a new, professional competitive gaming league that will bring together the best basketball gamers in the world. This marks the first official eSports league operated by a U.S. professional sports league.
Set to debut in 2018, this groundbreaking competitive gaming league will consist of teams operated by actual NBA franchises. The founding teams, each composed of five professional eSports players who will play the game as user-created avatars, will be announced in the coming months. The NBA 2K eLeague will follow a professional sports league format: competing head-to-head throughout a regular season, participating in a bracketed playoff system, and concluding with a championship matchup.
“We believe we have a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the young and growing eSports community,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “We look forward to combining our best-in-class NBA sports team operators with Take-Two’s competitive gaming expertise to create a brand new league experience.”
“We are proud to expand our strong relationship with the NBA and co-create the NBA 2K eLeague,” said Strauss Zelnick, Chairman and CEO of Take-Two. “Through the NBA 2K series, which is renowned throughout the world for capturing the authenticity of the NBA and the passion of its fans, we have a proven track record of highly successful collaboration. With this new venture, Take-Two and the NBA aim to fuel the accelerating growth of eSports and take the thrill of competition to exciting new heights.”
The relationship between NBA and Take-Two dates back to 1999, with the NBA 2K series selling over 68 million units worldwide. The most recent release, NBA 2K17, is the highest-rated annual sports game of the current console generation and the highest-rated title in the history of the NBA 2K series.(1) To date, NBA 2K17 has sold-in nearly 7 million units, and is poised to become 2K’s highest-selling sports title ever.
In December, 2K launched its second official eSports competition, NBA 2K17 All-Star Tournament, which offers teams of gamers the chance to win a trip to NBA All-Star 2017. The 5-on-5 tournament, featuring a $250,000 grand prize, will culminate on Feb. 17 in New Orleans.
About the NBA
The NBA is a global sports and media business built around three professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, and the NBA Development League. The league has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 49 languages, and NBA merchandise for sale in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on 6 continents. NBA rosters at the start of the 2016-17 season featured a record 113 international players from 41 countries and territories. NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com and the NBA App, which achieved record viewership and traffic during the 2015-16 season. The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with more than 1.3 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.
About Take-Two Interactive Software
Headquartered in New York City, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. is a leading developer, publisher and marketer of interactive entertainment for consumers around the globe. The Company develops and publishes products through its two wholly-owned labels Rockstar Games and 2K. Our products are designed for console systems and personal computers, including smartphones and tablets, and are delivered through physical retail, digital download, online platforms and cloud streaming services. The Company’s common stock is publicly traded on NASDAQ under the symbol TTWO. For more corporate and product information please visit our website at http://www.take2games.com.
Founded in 2005, 2K develops and publishes interactive entertainment globally for console systems, handheld gaming systems and personal computers, including smartphones and tablets, which are delivered through physical retail, digital download, online platforms and cloud streaming services. 2K publishes titles in today’s most popular gaming genres, including shooters, action, role-playing, strategy, sports, casual, and family entertainment. The 2K label has some of the most talented development studios in the world today, including Firaxis Games, Visual Concepts, Hangar 13, and Cat Daddy Games. 2K’s stable of high quality titles includes the critically acclaimed BioShock®, Borderlands™, Mafia, and XCOM® franchises, the beloved Sid Meier’s Civilization series, Evolve™, Battleborn®, the popular WWE 2K franchise and NBA 2K, the highest rated* annual sports title of this console generation.