The first Esports league managed by a professional sports league is gearing up to go.
Esports are everywhere today, and now traditional sport leagues are taking notice. The NBA recently announced that they are partnering with the game developers for NBA 2K. This is the most popular NBA video game out there, and numerous people take it seriously.
As part of that deal, the NBA and 2K are bringing in the best 2K players from around the world to compete against each other in a season format called the 2K League. Players will be drafted by real-life NBA teams to form their own 2K team. Each season will culminate in a playoff and eventually a championship game. Overall, this is the first Esports league managed by a professional sports league in the United States.
A huge part of Esports is the medium for watching. It is almost always through streaming on websites since the live audiences are only so big. Arguably the most popular streaming service, Twitch just announced a deal to gain exclusive streaming rights of the 2K League.
Twitch is a free-to-use streaming service where people can start their own streams whenever they want. The consumer can then choose to give money to their favorite streamers to fund their efforts. Essentially, Twitch is an ongoing 24/7 operation where people are always streaming something.
For their deal with the NBA and 2K, they will show the weekly games as well as the playoffs and championship games. These streams will also include commentary and analysis just like any NBA game. We do not know the monetary details of the deal, but we do know it is a multiyear deal.
1. Sponsorships are even better when you can demonstrate your product and Twitch will have that opportunity in front of a huge audience for this widely-anticipated 2K League.
2. Twitch is already the global leader in video game streaming, and this deal will only cement them and protect them from possible competitors.
3. While Esports are untraditional, it is likely that the audiences for these 2K League games equal or even surpass NBA games. For Twitch, it's all about that exposure.
4. As a brand or agency, look to these streaming services and esports for brand awareness. They routinely pull bigger numbers than television and are cheaper. It could be a great way for you to market.
5. If you work for a professional team or league, look into Esports possibilities. The NBA is the first league to create an Esports league, but it won't be the last.
Check out some pictures of Twitch's product and NBA 2K below.
Written by: James Campbell
James Campbell is currently in his Senior year at the University of Michigan. In May of 2018, he will receive his BA degree in Sport Management. Throughout his time at Michigan, he has worked with Detroit City FC, MiLife Sport & Social Club, and USA Hockey. - @Jimmy10Campbell