A number of NBA teams have begun to discuss their enthusiasm and excitement for the NBA 2k eLeague, the eSports league based on the developer’s basketball title.
“We are, like the rest of the marketplace, extraordinarily curious about the potential of eSports,” said Dave Hopkinson, Chief Commercial Officer at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, owners of the Toronto Raptors. “We don’t have any other forays into eSports, although we have a working group internally evaluating it. We will be proceeding here on day one. That is certainly going to be the recommendation of management. We’re going to have to go through with the process but that’s our goal to be on the ground floor.”
The Boston Celtics are another team eyeing for an early spot in the league, with Managing Partner and CEO Wyc Grousbeck stating his intention for the team to compete. “The Celtics will be opting in. There will be an eCeltics,” he said on the Forbes SportsMoney podcast. “We will find players, we will compensate these players. We’ll house them in Boston. They’ll be a team. They will train. There’s training for this."
Other teams, including Miami Heat, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Sacramento Kings, have all spoken positively about involvement in the league, according to eSports Observer. “The Cavs have a good core of existing partnerships that could scale to eSports and benefit from the unique segment eSports offers from a sponsorship standpoint,” said Mike Conley, Vice President of Digital for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Announced back in February earlier this year, the league is planning to feature all 30 NBA teams in a five-month competitive season that will encompass training, drafting and playoffs. The first season will likely only include 8-12 teams, however, and expand over time.