The National Basketball Association (NBA) has become the first major U.S. sports league to operate an eSports league by launching “NBA 2K eLeague” in partnership with video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. NBA franchises will be able to form and manage teams that will compete against each other, just as the real teams do, in Take-Two’s popular “NBA 2K” video game starting next year. NBA says all 30 NBA franchises “have expressed interest” in forming teams for the league.
What Brands Need To Do
While professional sports teams and athletes have independently invested in or get involved with eSports teams before, this new league marks the biggest tie-up yet between traditional and digital sports. Over the past few years, eSports has rapidly grown into a significant media segment that is drawing attentions from brands such as Gillette and Audi. Earlier this week, E3, the world’s biggest video game trade convention, announced it will be open to the public for the first time this year, a move that signifies the mainstream status of the industry. And this new NBA-sanctioned league should provide a new channel for brands looking to capture the overlap between video game enthusiasts and basketball fans at a global scale via team sponsorships or, presumably, in-stream ads.
Source: Wall Street Journal