The NBA Joins Forces With eSports League
Last week, the NBA announced a groundbreaking partnership with the budding eSports industry for the 2018 season. Commissioner Adam Silver and company officially agreed to a pact with Take-Two Interactive Software, revolving around the upcoming NBA 2K league. This agreement comes as little surprise after the two sides announced they would pursue the development of this league back in February.
This first of a kind partnership includes participation from 17 of the league’s premier teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, and Golden State Warriors among others, agreed to the deal, which is worth nearly $750,000 per team for three seasons. The contract makes the NBA the first traditional sports league to team up with the eSports industry.
Per the agreement, the eSports league will be able to use official NBA uniforms during gameplay. The league will consist of a five-month season, capped off by a championship. Players will reportedly create their own avatars in the game as well.
The NBA has been very progressive since Silver was named commissioner in 2014, with the eSports industry as one of their main investments. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has had his hands in the enterprise dating back to 2015 when he funded an eSports sportsbook. The Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat followed Cuban’s lead, serving as co-owners of eSports organizations Misfits and Team Dignitas. Other teams such as the Wizards, Bucks, and Celtics have since invested in organizations under the eSports umbrella as well.
In all likelihood, the NBA will not be the only major sports league to invest in eSports. The gaming industry is on the rise with backings from the aforementioned league and ESPN, which broadcasts eSports events. With prizing worth millions of dollars in single tournaments, the eSports industry appears to be taking the entire sports world by storm.
FIFA is currently making major moves towards an NBA-eSports type partnership. Can the European sports league serve as the next major facilitator for this up and coming industry? It’s only a matter of time before other leagues jump on the eSports bandwagon.