Introducing the NBA 2K League

Tom Atkinson Roar Rookie

By Tom Atkinson, Tom Atkinson is a Roar Rookie

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    Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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    One million dollars prizemoney? $USD35,000 guaranteed salary? Six months work per year? Where do I sign up for the NBA 2K League?

    I’m sure every gamer has owned an NBA 2K basketball simulator over the years and dreamed of one day playing in the real thing. Who didn’t want to dunk like Michael Jordan?

    For 102 people, that dream will become a reality. Commencing May 2018, 17 NBA franchises will have eSports teams, competing in a home-and-away league format, with tournament play mixed in. The players will feature in the very first live-draft, and can look forward to shared housing, salaries, benefits related to the utilisation of NBA facilities such as the gym and trainers, and – most importantly – the opportunity to leverage your personal brand off the NBA brand.

    The governing entity, the NBA 2K League, will oversee operations, including player selection, with each franchise stumping up a $750K minimum investment.

    Players who own a copy of NBA 2K18 on PS4 or Xbox were able to compete in January’s Round 1. Players who win 50 games made it to Round 2, in February, where there are 12 pre-set time slots in which to play a minimum of 40 games. Each game will have advanced analytics attached to the gameplay in order to differentiate players.

    Managing director Brendan Donohue said, “We’re committed to equal opportunity for everyone”, reaffirming the league’s commitment to finding the best players.

    The combine tryout does not discriminate, your social media and previous body of work mean nothing.

    The league will offer six-month contracts, with first-round draft picks set to receive $USD35,000, with all other draft picks receiving $USD32,000.

    Gamers have the opportunity to pursue personal and team endorsements, combined with YouTube and Twitch streaming revenue to boost their salary. The league will run for 16 weeks, with three concurrent elimination tournaments during the season and a final to decide the $1 million prizemoney. Players will be flown out to a central LAN gaming studio on a weekly basis to play. Shared living quarters and health benefits will be afforded, as well as state-of-the-art practice facilities.

    The 17 franchises are:
    • Detroit Pistons
    • Indiana Pacers
    • Dallas Mavericks
    • Sacramento Kings
    • Cleveland Cavaliers
    • Washington Wizards
    • Orlando Magic
    • Utah Jazz
    • Miami Heat
    • Boston Celtics
    • Portland Trail Blazers
    • Golden State Warriors
    • Toronto Raptors
    • New York Knicks
    • Memphis Grizzlies
    • Milwaukee Bucks
    • Philadelphia 76ers

    Gameplay will feature five-on-five basketball, aiming to emulate the NBA, with arenas, crowds, referees, league rules and most importantly NBA gameplay.

    Competition will be present in the form of the NHL, NFL and eMLS competitions. But NBA 2K has a significant ace up their sleeve – the NBA’s proper. Popularity and revenue has never been higher, with ratings soaring and basketball’s global participation steadily rising on the back of an amazing on-screen product and wildly influential social media marketing mix.

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