NBA 2K League starts May 5th with six weeks of remote matches

The NBA is getting its esports stars back in action right away.

Andron "Lavish Phenom" Thomas, from Brooklyn borough of New York, who plays for Blazers Gaming, taunts an opponent during the NBA 2k League (NBA2KL) professional esports playoffs, Wednesday, July 24, 2019 (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Practically at the same time the NBA put its season on hiatus after multiple players tested positive for COVID-19, its esports arm also took an unscheduled break. Now, just after the NBA has issued some guidelines that could allow basketball players back into team practice facilities, the NBA 2K League has announced its schedule for the new season.

In lieu of traditional sports actions, famous professionals in many sports have been competing in the virtual realm to keep fans entertained. The NBA quickly put on a Player’s Tournament that was limited to basketball stars, as well as a Three for All 3-on-3 tournament that mixed its esports pros in with players from the NBA, WNBA and G League.

Now the esports pros will take center stage, however in this third season, the plan is to play at least the first six weeks remotely, for obvious reasons. There are 23 teams participating, including the first one that’s not linked to an NBA franchise with the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai, and over the first six weeks they’ll all play at least eight matches. The best-of-three competitions start at 7 PM ET from Tuesday through Friday each week.

The plan is for the league’s broadcast to take place from a virtual studio, and switch between games in real-time to focus on whatever action is most exciting. A League Pass / Redzone style experience is an interesting approach for esports, presented as a simulcast via Twitch and YouTube.

NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue said in a statement: “We are thrilled to officially tip off the 2020 NBA 2K League season remotely and hope the excitement of NBA 2K League competition provides both new and returning fans with a fun way to stay connected and engage with our league during these unprecedented times.”

NBA 2K League start of season schedule:

  • May 5 – 8 Regular Season – Week 1

  • May 12 – 15 Regular Season – Week 2

  • May 19 – 22 Regular Season – Week 3

  • May 26 – 29 Regular Season – Week 4

  • June 2 – 5 Regular Season – Week 5

  • June 9 – 12 Regular Season – Week 6