With the clock officially ticking until the launch of the upcoming NBA 2K League, the organization will see a roster of 17 teams take part in the inaugural season which see leverage the league’s partnership with Take-Two Interactive, with players receiving a proper contract and sponsorship deals. Among the teams getting ready to rumble will be the Celtics, Mavericks, Pistons, Pacers, Grizzlies, Heat, Bucks, Knicks, Magic, 76ers, Trail Blazers, Kings, Raptors, Jazz and Wizards, with many of the teams already embedded in the esports world.
In an interview with Cynopsis, Brendan Donohue, Managing Director of NBA 2K League, discussed the league’s plans as well as its advantages to sponsors for the upcoming launch.
Donohue on taking on the role: This was really a blending of my two worlds. I spent the last 21 years working on the NBA but I also have a passion for gaming and have an 11-year old son and on the weekends we are on our gaming chairs getting after it.
On the state of the league: We have 17 teams that are committed for the 2018 season and we are now looking at tryouts starting in February. We’re look at mid-March for the draft. We are looking at players in market by April with the season starting in May. The season we are looking at will be 17 weeks long. The regular season will be 15 weeks long, with two weeks for the playoffs and finals. When it comes to competition, the only thing we know for sure at the point is that we are going to fly the players in on a consistent basis to play in a central studio. A lot of that will be assisted by our media rights conversations.
On working with teams: We obviously have deep relationships with all of our teams, and I personally have most of the NBA team presidents on my cell because I am friends with them. Our team marketing and operations group has been working with them consistently in helping them with the hiring process, building out the infrastructure, and preparing them for success in their respective markets.
On sponsors: It’s going great. I would expect that we will be announcing deals here soon, but the conversations have been fantastic. They are very excited about working with us for a couple of reasons. One being that we have very good relations with our current NBA partners and we are trying to help them potentially enter the esports world. Secondarily, brands have a comfort level with us and trust us to work with them on how to activate and engage. We have a couple of advantages in having a global understanding of basketball which gives us an advantage and that makes it easier for us to engage with the esports audience. In addition, it is very easy for us to activate partners.