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NBA investing in esports

Earlier this year it was announced that 17 NBA teams will take part in the inaugural NBA 2K esports league – set to debut in 2018.

The USA and Asia are currently the biggest esports markets followed closely by Europe. America has hosted some of the largest esports tournaments in the world. In 2016, Seattle hosted ‘The International 2016’ a DOTA 2 esports tournament with a prize pool of over $20M. In the same year, the USA was the host country for one of the most viewed esports tournaments of all time – a total of 43 million viewers from around the world tuned in to watch the LoL 2016 World Championship finals via Twitch.

In 2016, NBA 2k came in at 14th globally on the most watched esports list. With the support of NBA franchises, the creator of NBA 2k – EA Sports – will be hoping that this support can increase the viewership and the number of players of the popular basketball game. In an effort to ensure that esports should be considered in the same category as traditional sports, audiences are now able to bet on live esports matches and tournaments on websites such as Esports Only.

Another sport which has started working with esports is soccer. Soccer teams from around the world have begun signing up professional esports athletes in order to represent them at various esports competitions. According to Deloitte, 75{cd01305ab2721fd43c16ff036ef4f7cf719d3bcd28c83c0a9abd1469c0f603e2} of esports fans are millennials aged 18-34 and four out of five are male. This demographic is exactly why these traditional sports are working with esports – expect to start seeing more and more esports action on the big screens during intervals when attending your next basketball game.

Basketballs enthusiasm to work with esports can only be positive for both the esports version and the traditional version of the sport. Soccer is doing it and now basketball is following suit. Surely, it is only a matter of time before other major sports do the same; will the NFL be next? Almost certainly.

Participating NBA teams include:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Miami Heat
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • New York Knicks
  • Orlando Magic
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Utah Jazz
  • Washington Wizards



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