'NBA 2K eLeague' eSports squads will be owned by NBA teams

It's the first official eSports league owned by a US pro league.

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In 2018, the NBA will team up with Take Two (maker of the NBA 2K videogame series) for a groundbreaking eSports league. That's because this time, the actual NBA franchises will own eSports teams competing for the championship, similar to the way teams can own, or even share, Development League squads. There's no word on which teams will be the first ones to own one of the 8-12 initial teams in the "NBA 2K eLeague." Each one will feature five human players and the plan is to eventually have one for each of the league's 30 teams.

NBA 2K eLeague logo

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told the Wall Street Journal that it won't require competitors to travel, since the internet "gives us enormous flexibility to find the best players." We don't know when or how tryouts will take place, but each player will participate as a custom-created avatar.

Expect to see a heavy dose of promotion for the eSports matchups during regular NBA broadcasts, as NBA commissioner Adam Silver also told the Journal that coverage should include both online and television broadcasts. He also explained to the Associated Press why the league is giving this a try: "There's going to be an opportunity for this first of a kind league to attract a group of gamers who might be playing some other game. Now, they can say `Maybe I couldn't play for the Knicks, because I didn't have the physical prowess to compete at that level. But I do have the mental and physical prowess to compete as an egamer for the eKnicks."