Brian Mazique interviewed Brendan Donohue with emerging details about esport’s newest project, the NBA 2K League.
As esports continue to grow year after year, it was inevitable that the NBA created their own opportunity as well. However the NBA is no stranger to esports, many teams and players have already invested in the esports space. Their newest endeavor is now the NBA 2K League as 17 teams participate in their inaugural season starting next year.
Mazique, of Forbes Games, had the opportunity to speak with Donohue, Managing Director of NBA 2K League, about various topics from player selection process to salaries and much more.
Here are a few interesting details from the interview:
Formerly announced as the NBA 2K Eleague back in February 2017, the NBA 2K Eleague is now the NBA 2K League. In the upcoming weeks, the NBA will discuss the identity and official logo of the 2K League. An important question, among many others, is how do they plan to market the league and build viewership? We will soon discover.
There are a lot of moving parts and planning takes time. A few events on the 2K League timeline are tryouts still scheduled for February, the draft is scheduled for March, training camp is scheduled for April and the season starts in May. Logistics for each event still need further detail, although we do have a current idea of what to expect.
NBA and 2K are experimenting with different environments to showcase a player’s skill. The selection process will be in a level playing field that strips out any advantages players may have. For example, a player with a 99 rating will not have an advantage over a 60 rating in terms of tryouts. A possible scenario is every player will be an 80 rating with set attributes as an example and be tested on skills whether it be shooting, rebounding or passing. With that said, you can’t bring your current MyPlayer into the league because it’s an unfair advantage over other players as the focus is the player’s skills.
The structure of the postseason is a work in progress because media rights have schedule implications. It’s important to schedule so they can incorporate the best of esports and the best of the NBA. However, it’s likely playoffs will consist of eight teams spanning two weeks in August.
A player drafted by their team is going to play in their marketplace. For example, a player is drafted by the 76ers, he or she will live in that marketplace, Philadelphia, and train at a gaming house and have access to 76ers training facilities. Followed by flying to a central studio to play all season games against other teams. Importantly, expected salary of players is competitive with the rest of esports if we are to speak of popular esports titles.
Sponsors and endorsements
Similar to other sports leagues, the NBA encourages players in their 2K League to pursue sponsors and endorsements outside of the league and help them become stars of their own. Along with working with league sponsors, players have opportunities to receive endorsements similar to their NBA counterparts.
With any professional company, 2K League players are employees of the NBA. They want high standards to be no different than that of NBA players. There will be specific guidelines of conduct because they represent many brands and more importantly, themselves.
Watch Brian Mazique’s interview with Brendan Donohue:
H/T Brian Mazique
Featured image courtesy of Ronnie2K via Twitter.
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