NBA 2K community

2K Corner Series: Interview with Pacers’ Cody Parrent

A critical component to any athlete’s success is their love for competition. In 2017, that competition is no longer exclusive to the hardwood or grass fields. Instead, the virtual world is home to some of the fiercest competitors in the world.

This is the belief that fuels Cody Parrent, the director of esports for the Indiana Pacers. He now channels his passion to compete into being a leader in the NBA 2K League community.

Driven By Competition and Friendship

Don’t mistake Parrent for being just a gamer. At his core, he’s a competitor.

It started as a teenager. He loved that AAU basketball and club soccer provided him with a time and place to hang out with his friends. However, Parrent never wanted the fun to stop.

“I had to be home at a certain time, and I wanted to keep hanging out with my friends. So we started playing video games online together,” he said.

NBA 2K community

Image Courtesy of Cody Parrent’s LinkedIn

That soon developed into a passion for Parrent. He would go on to compete in national tournaments in Halo 2 through his high school career. Sadly, he had to temper his competitive spirit in college.

“I wanted to buckle down on my studies,” Parrent said. “I didn’t compete much, but I kept up with the scene.”

It’s a good thing he did. Parrent earned his undergrad and MBA from University of Southern Indiana. After graduation, he and his friends started NBA 2k Lab. With this kind of experience and business acumen, he was no doubt among a short list of candidates for the director of esports position with the Pacers.

Focusing On The Community

One thing that was apparent in our conversation was his genuine understanding and love of the NBA 2K community. This kind of knowledge is critical to the success of the NBA 2K League. Parrent talked about a community event the Pacers hosted at the Game On Esports Center in Westfield, Indiana. He was hoping for an audience of 15 to 20 people to attend so he could educate them about the NBA 2K League. He had no idea what was going to transpire.

“We had over 100 people…people from Colorado, New York City, Orlando…some drove 15 hours to attend our event.”

– Cody Parrent

This kind of attendance does not only foreshadow the league’s success, but it also indicates how great the NBA 2K community is.

What does Parrent attribute to the success of this event? He knows where the community lives.

“The NBA 2K community lives on Twitter,” he said. “People are always talking and messaging with open spots in upcoming games.”

If you’re looking to get involved, search #2kfreeagent and you’ll understand how open and understanding the players in the community are.

Message for Aspiring Pros

We were able to speak at length about the draft process on the 2K Corner 3 Podcast, which you can listen to here. Parrent explained what an aspiring player needs to be doing in order to qualify for the NBA 2K League draft pool in 2018.

“If you’re listening take notes, if you are aspiring to be an NBA 2K League player, the tryout mode in February is what will allow you to get into the draft pool,” Parrent said.

Parrent went on to mention specific items and skills they will be evaluating during that tryout mode. While this isn’t an official announcement by the league, the NBA 2K community should take notice of any advice Parrent has to offer.

Silencing The Doubters

For those who continue to doubt this league’s credibility and success, Parrent has a message for you.

“2K17 sold 9 million copies and has 1.6 million active daily users and a growing Pro Am Scene,” he said.

The numbers clearly illustrate a demand for the game and an engaged consumer. The key will be converting those who don’t qualify for the draft pool and the casual player to tune in once the games start up.

With people like Cody Parrent at the helm, I have no doubt the NBA 2K League will find a way attract and sustain viewers.

 

You can hear the full interview including details about the national tryout and the qualification process to become a professional 2K player in the 2K Corner 3 Podcast by clicking here.

To stay updated be sure to follow Cody Parrent on Twitter @codyparrent and Kelly Krauskopf, President of the Indiana Fever and Senior Vice President of Pacers Sports & Entertainment @FeverPrez.

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

A look at the teams not in the NBA 2K League

17 teams are entering the NBA 2K League. That is more than half of the 30 teams in the NBA participating in the 2K League’s inaugural season. While a few teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers have deeper roots in esports than others, there are 13 teams waiting for their opportunity to enter the scene.

Eventually the NBA would want every team to join the NBA 2K League. I’m optimistic that it’s not a matter of if they’ll join, it’s a matter of when they’ll join. The NBA 2K League will thrive with more competition synonymous to the NBA. As a result it will present excellent opportunities for the community as well.

Who are these teams?

  1. Atlanta Hawks
  2. Brooklyn Nets
  3. Charlotte Hornets
  4. Chicago Bulls
  5. Denver Nuggets
  6. Houston Rockets
  7. LA Clippers
  8. Los Angeles Lakers
  9. Minnesota Timberwolves
  10. New Orleans Pelicans
  11. Oklahoma City Thunder
  12. Phoenix Suns
  13. San Antonio Spurs

Business as usual

While a number of teams don’t have any reported esports experience, they have the business experience to make the NBA 2K League a success. In a marriage between esports and traditional sports, it’s a transition that’ll help grow both industries for the world to see.

There are three teams that have their feet wet in the esports landscape and have created successful moves. But because these teams have esports experience doesn’t necessarily mean they’re locked in for season two nor does it mean that the other 10 teams are less likely to join either.

Denver Nuggets

One of the two Los Angeles teams in the Overwatch League. Courtesy of LA Gladiators via Twitter.

Josh Kroenke, Nuggets President, and his father Stan Kroenke co-own the Los Angeles Gladiators after securing a league spot in the Overwatch League. Blizzard set a $20 million fee to own a regional franchise in the Overwatch League and the Kroenke’s can pay the bill.

Kroenke Sports & Entertainment is a sports and entertainment holding company based in Denver with control over five professional sports franchises. The Kroenke’s own numerous Colorado sports franchises including the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids and the Colorado Mammoth.

With the Los Angeles Gladiators as their first venture into the esports landscape, the Denver Nuggets joining the NBA 2K League next season is a possibility.

Houston Rockets

Clutch Gaming has a spot in the NA LCS. Courtesy of Clutch Gaming via Twitter.

Tilman Fertitta, Rockets Owner, owns Clutch Gaming after securing a league spot in the North American League of Legends Championship Series. The Clutch Gaming brand coincidentally inspired from the nickname given to the Houston Rockets, Clutch City.

It also helps that Daryl Morey, Rockets General Manager, is an avid supporter of esports and joined the MLG Board of Directors back in 2013. In an interview with ESPN, he spoke esports as “[t]he 1950s basketball right now, where there’s that kind of opportunity.”

 

 

There’s enough esports involvement to believe the Houston Rockets will eventually make their way into the NBA 2K League sooner rather than later.

Los Angeles Lakers

Shaquille O’Neal and Magic Johnson. Courtesy of Fox Sports.

Magic Johnson, Lakers President of Basketball Operations, is an investor for aXiomatic which has an ownership in Team Liquid. Johnson is no stranger to business and Team Liquid may be his first stop among many in his esports career.

Other traditional sports figures include former Lakers, Rick Fox and Shaquille O’Neal, who are making waves of their own. Both Echo Fox and NRG are continuing to grow and recruit the best talent in their respected esports.

Meanwhile both Northern California teams, the Warriors and Kings, are in the NBA 2K League this year. There’s a lot of opportunity in a large market like Los Angeles and we hope to see the Lakers and Clippers soon.

 

Featured image courtesy of Tito Sar.

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Find NBA 2K18 Players: Interview with DeShea Witcher of 2KFreeAgent

Playing NBA 2K18 by yourself at the park or in Pro-Am can be really frustrating. Many of us have experienced disappointment playing with strangers which elevate our stress levels. You want to play the game to have fun and win the game of basketball. Playing with HeroBallKyle2005 isn’t your idea of spending your free time at night.

Finding the right players to build your team is possible with the help of 2KFreeAgent.

What is 2KFreeAgent?

Search by position, rating, and even time zone. Courtesy of 2kfreeagentcom via Twitter.

DeShea Witcher, creator of 2KFreeAgent, offers the solution to the madness of strangers in NBA 2K18. Except the solution is finding strangers in NBA 2K18 to have fun and win.

2KFreeAgent is a database of players that are also looking for teammates like yourself to play with. With over 160 players to team up with there is a group of players that you can build team chemistry with easily.

You, along with other players, can find a team from the list by adding your MyPlayer to 2KFreeAgent. There’s a private messaging system that notifies a user via email and through their inbox. More features are always in the works.

“I use 2KFreeAgent myself. One time I used it and I was in a 25 game winning streak all because people want to play the right way. People want to play team ball,” Witcher told The Game Haus on his success from using his own website.

Why you started 2KFreeAgent?

The idea behind 2KFreeAgent didn’t happen overnight.

“I actually had the idea during 2K17. Every time I went to the park or at Pro-Am, me being an older player, I don’t have a lot of friends that play the game. Dealing with a lot of random players, ball hogs, and inexperienced players. Frankly when time is short you just want to play a good game,” Witcher said about his idea for 2KFreeAgent.

A lot of players voice their complaints on Reddit where people are getting the same experiences playing with bad teammates. Many comment how it’s hard just to have fun and play basketball right when they team up with randoms.

However players have too many platforms to find other players in. 2KFreeAgent is the solution to solve that.

“I decided to make a place where you could do all of them on one place rather than going on different forums on Reddit, Xbox Live looking for a group. I kind of want to bring it all into one place. There’s also people looking on social media as well on Twitter and Facebook looking for people to run with, looking for people to start a Pro-Am team.” said Witcher about creating a single platform for players.

Response to the support from the 2K Reddit community

Finding people to play with in MyCareer. Courtesy of Tito Sar.

During the idea for 2KFreeAgent, Witcher wanted to gauge the interest with the 2K Reddit community by speaking to the Moderators and everyone in the community.

“You know it kind of blew up and people were saying yeah we need this,” Witcher said on the initial response on Reddit. “The community was actually waiting for this and it was solving a problem.”

In its official launch there were over 500 signups on the website within the first seven days of release announced in its first Reddit thread. Due to issues the website recently relaunched with more features in its latest Reddit thread. 2KFreeAgent continues to grow and allows the community make the game more enjoyable to play.

“The whole reason why people are adding their players to the website is because they’re frustrated with playing with random people or playing with kids. They already are coming in with a mindset of finding a team not just for themselves. They’re ones who find the actual team to play on.” said Witcher on why the 2K Reddit community finds the website useful.

What to look for in the future

There are more features coming aside from the recent private messaging system implemented. The next website feature is going to be built around Pro-Am.

“I’m going to start working on creating a place for Pro-Am teams to recruit and to find players and make it a lot easier to fill their teams.” Witcher said in creating a resource for Pro-Am teams as well. “I’m also gonna be getting to the website is a blog that keeps the discussion about the NBA 2K League for any news and interviews.”

“All the feedback that I’ve gotten about the website has been excellent. The community has helped me grow the website to where it is right now. Adding features, fixing any issues, the response has been positive.” said Witcher on recieving feedback.

Witcher has gained the support from the community and help 2KFreeAgent flourish to create a fun environment for people to play basketball.

 

Visit www.2KFreeAgent.com to find NBA 2K18 players to team up!

Follow 2KFreeAgent.com on Twitter for updates and Twitch for live streaming NBA 2K.

Featured image courtesy of Tito Sar.

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Is your brand important for NBA 2K League tryouts?

A lot of fuss has been going around the NBA 2K League tryout process. However at the end of the day there’s mystery behind the system of how it all works. Players speculate the expectations and responsibilities that come with being a prospect. A fact we do know for certain is that tryouts start in February and the best 85 players in the world will come out of it.

Just know that the NBA 2K League are looking to do things right and not fast. They’ll equip whatever it takes to find the best talent possible and Cody Parrent, Indiana Pacers Director of Esports Operations, tweeted his advice for any NBA 2K League hopefuls. Remember what matters is the skill set you bring to the table.

Is the NBA 2K League a popularity contest?

Some players wonder if being a live streamer or a YouTuber would have an advantage over players without the recognition. The best players isn’t synonymous with most popular players because the sample size representation on these platforms are only a minority of players who play NBA 2K18.

Many players are concerned that you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t have a presence in the 2K community. However it’s definitely not the case for players to be worried about because it has been a common question that gets answered by people who work in the league.

Anthony Muraco, Director of Gaming Operations for the Cleveland Cavaliers, confirmed on Twitter that being popular doesn’t have any value in the tryout process.

Here’s another response by Muraco on the subject of popularity.

Once again the only objectivity going into the NBA 2K League tryout process is your skills. Your talent and skills is the most important asset to the 17 NBA teams.

Creating your brand

While popularity doesn’t matter with the tryout process I wouldn’t necessarily discourage the process of creating your brand. It doesn’t hurt to create content for yourself because you’ll be building valuable skills that can translate to any professional career.

Whether your content is by live streaming, creating videos or editing pictures, you’re getting yourself involved with the community. You’re helping the 2K community grow by sharing your content that can help inspire other players as well.

Examples are creating a highlights video of your gameplay to NBA 2K memes on Instagram. Content doesn’t even have to be about NBA 2K and it can be about anything you want. Building a following is an essential skill to any business.

Building your own personal brand can be a fun and creative process. You’re developing your passion and commitment in what you believe in. Even if it doesn’t help you get drafted you should give it a shot.

Your brand is a representation of yourself

In a recent interview from The Ballgamer that included Josh Barney, Director of Esports & Tech for the Utah Jazz, spoke on branding in the draft process:

“Make sure you realize you are a brand, and how you interact in public space, whether that be social media or any video content you have out there, that reflects your brand,” Barney said. “And you need to make sure your brand is something that nationally recognized brands or global brands want to partner with.”

“Go in knowing that this is a business and you want to be professional as possible. If you get those two things nailed down, you’re sitting pretty.”

Whether or not you made it out past the tryout process in February, what Barney said holds true to becoming a professional when it comes to your own brand. It’s okay to have an opinion on subjects and have a voice on social media. Understand that what you put out to the world is a representation of you and your thoughts. Be mindful of your behavior and think about what you want others to know.

If it’s your aspiration to be among the best 85 players in NBA 2K18 then plan how you want to get there accordingly. The idea is to have goals. I encourage everyone to put themselves out there even if it doesn’t hold value in the tryout process. You never know what opportunities it leads you to.

 

Featured image courtesy of Tito Sar.

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Amazing potential for training camps in the NBA 2K League

Coming next year, 85 talented players will be drafted into their respected markets with 17 NBA teams entering the fray of esports in March. Scheduled for April is training camp in the NBA 2K League where the newly drafted break into their newfound careers. Players can develop their team chemistry by getting a feel of how everyone plays together within the system. Although there isn’t any information on training camp or personnel it’s fun to theorize the potential possibilities for player and team development.

Emulating NBA training camps

Cleveland Cavaliers’ first week of Training Camp. Courtesy of Cavs.

Is there any translation between traditional basketball coaching and training camps that can operate in the NBA 2K League? In a recent podcast by BBALLBREAKDOWN, Coach Nick talks about how NBA teams run their practice with Chris Oliver, head coach at the University of Windsor, and shared his thoughts on attending 4 different NBA teams practices during training camp.

In Oliver’s observation basically there are pre-practice, scrimmages and post-practice routines that players do for individual and team development. Each coach has a philosophy about giving feedback and a certain attention to detail from their own experiences. There’s no doubt that there’s structure for the NBA 2K League training camps made by their managers.

Even though the sport of basketball and the esport of NBA 2K18 are vastly different but similar in areas. Both are the game of basketball and even NBA players admit that playing NBA 2K18 gives them a better understanding of the game including their teammates and it can be a likewise tune for NBA 2K League players as well.

Should the NBA 2K League have coaches?

Anthony Muraco, esports Manager for the Dallas Mavericks, opened a question on Twitter whether the NBA 2K League should have coaches. 58% say Yes and 42% say No out of 1,764 votes which suggests the unknown certainty for NBA 2K18 coaching. Some esports managers would elect themselves to handle both managerial and coaching positions while others may differentiate the two.

Another set of eyes that can view the game outside the perspective of a player is one benefit to coaching. Coaches point out adjustments and nuances in the game that the players didn’t realize. Other benefits include another voice of leadership and empowerment for the team in a multitude of situations. Bringing players back up on their feet mentally and give them the belief to rise to the occasion.

Most of us can agree with Cody Parrent, Director of Esports Operations for the Indiana Pacers, on his thoughts on coaching in the NBA 2K League, “If their role is clearly defined and the team can see how it gives them a competitive advantage over opponents – I’m all for it.”

Team Practice Facility

You know what would be fun idea? If Take-Two developed a team practice facility similar to MyCareer that can have unlimited drills and powerful tools to create in-game situations. Similarly to the Situation mode introduced in NBA 2K11 where there’s a setup for creating in-game situations and scenarios. Introducing different tools to improve their in-game skills almost instantaneously through a team practice facility mode is an innovative idea.

There’s an amazing opportunity to emulate NBA team practices and training camps for players. Whether or not teams decide to hire more personnel still doesn’t hide the fact that 85 players will be given the best resources needed to be the best. There’s no better time to be a 2K fan and future prospect than it is right now.

 

Featured image courtesy of Tito Sar.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tito!

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NBA 2k League

Pacers at the forefront of the NBA 2k League

For years, one of the most popular sport-based video games has been NBA 2k. However, the video game will soon vault into the top of the esports stratosphere with the NBA 2k League.

There haven’t been many details released about the league. We know that 17 NBA franchises have agreed to participate. We also know that tryouts will take place in February, and the subsequent draft will occur in March. And, we know that all players must be 18 years or older to be eligible. And finally, we know that one franchise is setting an example for the other 16 participants, the Indiana Pacers.

It Starts at the top

NBA 2k League

In order to ensure the successful launch of the NBA 2k League, the participants must believe in the idea, starting with the owners. (Courtesy of; Indy Star)

In an interview in May by the Indy Star, Pacers owner Herb Simon had some preliminary thoughts about the NBA 2k League and its formation. “I’m very, very bullish about the league under the present leadership,” he said.

He thinks it could be a useful tool to tap into a younger demographic adding, “The young kids are playing this, and they are playing it all the time.” Simon wasn’t wrong. NBA 2k was the highest-rated and highest-revenue-generating sports video game in North America at the time.

Having the right leadership is critical for any organization or idea to succeed. The NBA 2k League will be no different. If owners like Simon believe in the idea wholeheartedly, then that same attitude will matriculate through the organization. It’s important that everyone on board from the owner to the camera man understands the vision and the value of this emerging league.

Understanding the Industry

Fast forward to late September, and the Pacers have hired Robert “Cody” Parrent as their Director of Esports Operations. Parrent has an extensive background in CS:GO and Halo, but how does his experience translate to the NBA 2k League?

It’s simple. He understands the consumer. The esports industry, while growing, still has many unanswered questions. For example, will the games be played on PC or console? Will the NBA partner with a streaming service like Twitch to broadcast these games, or promote them on their own network, NBA TV? While those answers may not exist now, the Pacers are confident that Parrent could have the key to unlocking a new consumer for their franchise.

the introduction of gaming

Let’s jump to last night’s game versus the Cleveland Cavaliers. On the Fox Sports Indiana halftime program, the Pacers ran a piece on what each player thought of their respective 2k rating.

While this may seem like filler or fluff, it’s exactly the opposite. The Pacers are slowly exposing their fan base to the game. It’s incredibly smart. They want to introduce their traditional fans to gaming on a general level. The best way to do so is to involve the players themselves. Why? It adds legitimacy to the game and the league.

In the piece, it is evident that Lance Stephenson and Myles Turner were fully aware of their rating, and excited to talk about it. Turner went as far as to say he could see himself earning a rating in the high 80’s or low 90’s by season’s end. This kind of excitement from the players is a critical step to ensuring the league hits the ground running. Think about it, if the players featured in the game didn’t find it interesting or fun, why would you?

Let’s examine the timing. The Pacers chose to run this piece at halftime of their biggest game to date. They knew eyes would be glued to the TV when LeBron James, and the always topical Cleveland Cavaliers, hosted the Pacers last night. I’d hardly say that’s a coincidence. One could argue it was calculated and smart to air the piece at halftime of this particular game.

These are small steps, but they are no doubt in the right direction. The Pacers, along with a few others, are setting the standard and are taking the necessary steps to best promote NBA 2k League and its launch in May of 2018.


 

Featured Image Courtesy of Sport Techie

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Is J.R. Smith the hero we deserve in NBA 2K18?

Disgruntled 2K players are apparent in the game’s social media because of the game’s negative reception. The only voices that their social media listens to generally is from NBA players. Not hard to believe because of the negative replies coming from every new social media post. NBA players don’t use their social media platform to voice their thoughts about NBA 2K18 often. Everyone but the exception of J.R Smith of the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the past week Smith has been the unsung hero in the NBA 2K community that was waiting for.

J.R. Smith’s off-ball movement. Courtesy of Tito Sar.

Microwave Badge On Twitter

The most popular Tweet that started it all was from two weeks ago about losing the ball too much in the Playground. With over 6,000 retweets and 15,000 likes, there are many players that can relate including myself and then there’s others with clever remarks. However no one from 2K was able to respond to Smith, not even Ronnie2K himself.

In MyCareer the shoe deal was bugged under certain brands and required players to purchase shoes with VC in order to keep their shoe deals. I was able to wear Adidas during games but I wasn’t able to get any shoes for the Street/Playground because your shoe deal doesn’t provide shoes outside of season games. Your shoe deal can be voided by wearing a different brand which results in a Catch-22. Smith commented on the problem with shoe deals and Ronnie2K responded that it will be adjusted in the next patch. Success!

And just like that J.R. Smith is the unanimous voice of the 2K community! It’s all been good and fun to see NBA players being able to get their input on the game. But this speaks more on the voice of the 2K community itself. How much value do our voice carry? We’ve seen their social media acknowledge NBA players but what about us regular players?

The Big Picture For The NBA 2K18 Community

There needs to be a voice in the community. YouTubers such as Chris Smoove can only go so far with their reach. The NBA 2K Reddit isn’t the best environment to get a direct response. However there needs to be constructive criticism with what people think is wrong with the game. After a while it’s hard to take us seriously when we trash the game within the first month of release. I will give credit to 2K for releasing a few patches within the month after release.

In order to give input with traction you’d have to follow a few people on Twitter. Is this some kind of sick marketing tactic for followers? Only kidding. If there are any gameplay issues you’re having then the man to ask is Mike Wang, Gameplay Director for NBA 2K. Throughout the past several weeks they’re slowly making hotfixes for certain issues such as heavily contested shots for example.

With the NBA 2K League coming out next year and their focus on the community, I want to be optimistic. Esports success comes from your customers and viewers that believe in the product. It’s hard to make everyone happy but they have to be able to distinguish constructive criticism. Although the 2K League will be it’s own separate game mode from NBA 2K18, the funnel to find the best players start at 2K18 itself. The NBA 2K League only have one opportunity for a first impression.

 

Featured image courtesy of Tito Sar.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tito!

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Philadelphia 76ers’ brotherly love For esports

Last year, the Philadelphia 76ers bought Team Dignitas and became the first North American sports franchise to buy an esports team. Earlier this year they became one of 17 teams that’ll participate in the NBA 2K League, the first esports league of its kind. Now, almost a week ago, the 76ers announced a partnership with HyperX, a gaming accessories company. The 76ers are incorporating esports into their company in efforts to further grow the industry.

Sixers Training Complex. Courtesy of NBA.

HyperX partnership

HyperX became the first endemic esports/gaming brand to partner with an NBA team. They will become the official headset partner of the Philadelphia 76ers and also sponsor Team Dignitas as well. HyperX also hasn’t shied away from sponsoring NBA players such as Gordon Hayward and De’Aaron Fox. The Business Wire reports, “During the 2017-2018 NBA season, HyperX will participate with the 76ers in a range of in-game activation elements, including courtside and in-arena LED ring signage and branding, exposure on scoreboard, concourse activations and HyperX giveaway nights.”

If you’ve been to an NBA game before, imagine a HyperX commercial during timeout breaks or ads during broadcasts. The HyperX partnership can potentially lead other gaming companies to develop their own partnerships with other teams as well. For example what if, Fremont-based, Corsair Components partner with the Golden State Warriors and their upcoming 2K League team? The HyperX and 76ers partnership will become a catalyst for more opportunities to come to the NBA.

Fan engagement

HyperX has untapped options to gain more exposure and normalize esports to the public. Scott O’Neil, CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, spoke with SportTechie about their efforts to innovate fan engagement. O’Neil said, “Some of the improvements they made to the game and the way they’re engaging their fan base, I think it’s a great way to tie fans back and forth through esports and the real game.” Another example is Nike’s NBA Connected Jersey where you gain exclusive content by simply tapping your smartphone on the tag of the jersey.

Every year technology continues to improve and reaches its way to innovate marketing. The 76ers can deliver creative fan engagement with their own fans and introduce them to esports with their own 2K League team. The idea can go both ways as you can also introduce esports viewers to the NBA. By increasing viewership, they create more streams of revenue and opportunities to expand between the two industries.

Getting other teams involved

Chad Biggs, Senior VP of Marketing Partnerships of the Philadelphia 76ers, believes more teams will take interest. “I don’t believe it undermines the league. We have some very strong teams. It will make a very competitive league and more teams will follow,” Biggs said in response to teams not participating from an interview from SportBusiness. Many teams want to view the success of the NBA 2K League’s first season before they want to jump in. After all the NBA and its teams are a business and, for some, esports is still considered a risk.

NBA teams know their business and can utilize their resources to translate into esports. O’Neil also commented, “You started to see a lot of my peers enter the space thinking, ‘OK, we understand how to sell tickets, we understand broadcast deals, we understand sponsorship.’” The Philadelphia 76ers has shown their admiration and potential for esports to create a connection between esports and traditional sports.


Featured image courtesy of Tito Sar.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tito!

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Reddit Recap: Monumental Sports & Entertainment NBA 2K League AMA Summary

On Monday the NBA 2K subreddit hosted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) with Grant Paranjape, Director of esports for Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE), and Zach Leonsis, Senior VP and General Manager of Monumental Sports Network, about the NBA 2K League. Together they’re the esports team behind MSE and will be launching the Washington Wizards 2K team later this year.

Monumental Sports Esports AMA. Courtesy of Keiranthil via Twitter.

Many behind the scenes efforts are in preparation for the upcoming NBA 2K league. Paranjape and Leonsis shared more details by answering the community’s questions on Reddit. We have a little more insight about how it works. The NBA 2K League is still a work in progress. There are questions that remain ‘To Be Determined’ until further notice.

I highlight the key points in the AMA for readers interested in the NBA 2K League. Click here to read the entire AMA from Reddit.

Reddit AMA Summary

Central Studio

“The studio will completely equipped for players to play in, you will not have to provide your own console. Having everything played out of a central studio ensures that nothing will get in the way of creating the most competitive environment for the players as possible.” -Paranjape

Teams will travel to a central studio to play their games. The games are played in an environment with perfect connectivity.

Season Schedule

“The season will run the course of the entire summer (May-August) with regular season games, interjecting tournaments, and playoffs (and) finals.” -Paranjape

The number of games in a season is ‘To Be Determined’. Tournaments and playoffs are two different events.

Player Salary

“Not a bad question at all, teams will be providing housing + travel and it will not be the players’ responsibilities. From a team perspective, as well as my experience in esports, the salary is very competitive for a relatively new esports title and is enough to be considered a full time careers.” -Paranjape

Their competitive salary also includes benefits such as housing and healthcare. They also have the potential to earn more with tournaments and playoffs.

Training Regimen

“Different teams are pursuing different strategies, for our team we’re planning on hiring a coach, as well as potentially an additional analyst role. In terms of training days, everyday is a training day! But in all seriousness, there will be a set regiment that players will be responsible for following, under the guidance of the team manager & coach.” -Paranjape

Anthony Muraco, Esports Manager for the Dallas Mavericks, has already made plans for his team. Expect over 40 hours a week minimum with a combination of training, streaming, diet, and exercise regiment.

Selection Process

“I think there is no question that it is an extremely selective process (the numbers tell that story on its own). However, the reason it is so selective is to truly find the best 85 NBA2k players. Social following and exposure will not be the main factors that determine eligibility in the draft, we’re looking for the best players in game, period.” -Paranjape

Every team’s first shot in the selection process. There isn’t going to be a bias towards YouTube content creators based on their popularity.

Age Requirement

“Only players that are 18 or older will be eligible for the NBA 2k League draft.” -Leonsis

Draft will start in March. Keep playing kids.

Take-Two’s Tryout Mode

“Take-Two is developing a new tryout mode that will be released closer to the Spring, where all players are able to participate in a format that ensures that all players try out on an even playing field. The mode will ensure that we see a players’ true skill level, without attribute enhancements earned from previous gameplay.” -Leonsis

Tryouts will start in February. Anyone with a copy of 2K will be able to participate from all platforms.

Qualities In A Player

“Besides skill, we also want to draft players that show great leadership ability, strong work ethic, and an ability to compliment teammates. Chemistry will be critical to team success, so we will seek team-oriented players. It also doesn’t hurt to have a positive presence on social accounts. We want players who are positive representations of the team and our larger organization. When you’re drafted by our team, you no longer simply represent yourself, you also represent us!” -Leonsis

Players are employed by the NBA. Therefore you have to be professional and represent yourself accordingly.

Grassroots Marketing

“I think that is where a lot of the grassroots activations for the 2k league come into play. You’ll have teams hosting viewing parties, or side tournaments, where a lot of just fans of the game can come out and interact in really cool ways (and get a ton of awesome swag!)” -Paranjape

Brendan Donohue has mention in previous interviews how they want to incorporate grassroots events to build a fan base. Players interacting with their fans are their own celebrities.

Developing A Following

“In terms of growing a following in general however, I would say its all about creating interesting content. Whether its educational, in-depth breakdowns, scrimmage reviews, finding a way to set your content apart from all of the others is the best way to begin to grow a following on social.” -Paranjape

There’s opportunities to receive endorsements because of their social media presence. Players also work with league sponsors as well.

Personal Dedication

“I would say dedicate as much time as it takes for you to be the very best at the game as you can be. We definitely don’t want to put anyone in a difficult situation (IE they drop out of school/quit work and don’t make the draft), but at the same time there are always sacrifices to pursue your passions. I would say make decisions that put you on the path to where you want to be, while also having a solid backup plan.” -Paranjape

Please understand your situation before taking any risks. Always have a backup plan!

Potential Coaching Staff

“Given how new the 2k esports scene, we would be looking for mostly experience coaching in traditional sports and how you would be able to apply those fundamentals and beliefs to our 2k team!” -Paranjape

Team structure hasn’t finalized. Interested in traditional sports coaching translating to an esports team.

Manager’s Role

“I think managers play a huge role in players’ lives, especially when teams are living in a team house. Managers help settle disputes (you ate all the chips…) , make sure players have what they need, schedule scrims etc. I think the best managers are the ones who are able to empathize with players, but also garner the respect necessary to create a truly competitive environment.” -Paranjape

Managers are important for any esports team house. They cultivate a positive and fun culture that results in winning.

 

Featured image courtesy of Tito Sar.

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What the NBA 2K league needs to succeed

A lot of people were excited and surprised when the NBA and Take-Two Interactive announced their involvement in esports by creating the NBA 2K League earlier in February. It’s an ambitious effort to bring basketball as a legitimate esports game. However, the NBA isn’t new to the esports space. Many owners and players have invested into esports organizations over the past few years.

The NBA is an enormous business behind the game of basketball. If there is any league with the resources to contribute more to esports’ growth, it’s undoubtedly the NBA. But there are key factors the NBA needs to capitalize on in order to succeed with the NBA 2K League.

Twitch.tv broadcasting

Founded in 2011, Twitch is a live streaming video platform that caters to over 100 million gamers worldwide every month. It’s also the hub for most esports events. The NBA 2K League can collaborate with Twitch and have their games featured or sponsored on their home page. By doing this, it’ll bring viewership and engagement which is the exposure the league needs because it targets its ideal demographic. The average age of Twitch users is 21 with 68% being cord cutters.

Brendan Donahue, Marketing Director of the NBA 2K League, discussed in an interview with Gameswelt about “[having] a streaming and digital option certainly” and perhaps “a linear television partner.” One possibility is games can be presented through ESPN or TBS as they recently extended their television deals. Another possibility they could take would be to broadcast on NBA TV, but it’s hard to argue against streaming on Twitch.

Production value

Team introductions in ESL One New York 2016. Courtesy of ESL.

In correlation to Twitch or any broadcasting deals, the production value needs to be on par with their actual NBA games. Production value can make or break a broadcast. There are a few ideas to make the broadcast fun. Being interactive, engaging, and including the viewers into the game. Whether it be introductions, commentators, or audience participation, there’s a lot of

There are a few ideas to make the broadcast fun: being interactive, engaging and including the viewers into the game. Whether it be introductions, commentators or audience participation, there’s a lot of potential to create quality entertainment. It’s important to make viewers feel like they’re part of something special.

Notable examples of companies in esports that have mastered production value are ESL, MLG, and Blizzard Entertainment. Lighting, sound, scenery and props must be taken into account to provide the best presentation. They do a good job providing on-screen information to help viewers understand what they’re watching. If the production value is anything like the NBA, with inspiration taken from successful esports broadcasts, it’ll be a significant step in the right direction.

Developer involvement

Content creators gather at the NBA 2K18 #RunTheNeighborhood Event. Courtesy of Ronnie2K via Twitter.

An important aspect of video games is the communication between the developers and players within the community. Listening to players can build a healthy relationship and trust in their product. Building a community starts with the developers by cultivating a space that encourages feedback. An example would be listening to their player’s feedback and balancing gameplay by releasing patches frequently.

It’s critical to show that it takes skills to play NBA 2K18 by making the necessary changes for everyone to be in a fair playing field. However, it’s more important to show that there are developers that are actually listening. 2K Sports, the publisher, and Visual Concepts, the developer, have the potential to take the necessary steps with the NBA to take the NBA 2K series to another level.


 

Featured image courtesy of ESPN.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tito!

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

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