Features

Decoding the esports challenge with NBA 2K League

League Managing Director helps us see the enormous hidden potential of the platform

The joint venture between the National Basketball Association and Take-Two Interactive is over three years old and it sure has been a fruitful association. 

The NBA 2K League is expanding its distribution globally, and it’s now ready to enter the Indian market with the announcement of a partnership with Loco to stream the League games in the country. For the first time, the NBA 2K League competition had been aired live on ESPN2, ESPN’s digital platforms, and Loco in India. 

With everyone wanting a piece of the action, this season’s Playoffs and Finals which were played, along with over 200 games next season aims to lure Indian audience with the magic of the NBA. The ever-growing esports community is perfect to leverage its reach. We had a quick word with NBA 2K League Managing Director, Brendan Donohue to find out why India is such a lucrative market for a foreign sport…

Tell us more about the thriving esports community globally and what makes India attractive for the NBA 2K League.

Brendan: Between the growth of the esports industry globally and the popularity of the NBA 2K series, we see enormous potential for the NBA 2K League to continue to grow domestically and internationally, including in India. With over 300 million gamers in India, increasing consumption of esports in India on platforms like Loco, Twitch and YouTube, and continued year-over-year growth in the popularity of NBA 2K in India, we look forward to continuing our efforts to reach casual and hardcore fans across the country.

Do you think that exposure to esports can ultimately result in us seeing a player out of India? 

One area you’ll see us continue to focus on is identifying elite NBA 2K talent around the world and building on the 10 international players in the league this season. The beauty of esports it that the millions of NBA 2K players around the world can aspire to and make the NBA 2K League. Now fans in India can watch the NBA 2K League players, hone their skills by playing the game, and ultimately see if they have what it takes to compete against the best players in the world. We believe it’s just a matter of time before there is an NBA 2K League player from India.

What else is in store?

The 2020 season was transformational for the NBA 2K League, and I’m extremely proud of what the league, our teams, players and partners accomplished this season and how we continued to grow and innovate. We added two new teams - Hornets Venom GT (the NBA 2K League affiliate of the Charlotte Hornets) and the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai (our first team from outside of North America) - and launched a long-term relationship with Gen.G to grow the NBA 2K League’s global player pool and fanbase.  We implemented an innovative production model that allowed for a remote broadcast in all 23 team markets and broadcasters to announce games in their homes from a virtual NBA 2K League Studio. We welcomed a record 14 marketing partners, including new partnerships with DoorDash, GameStop, Jostens, SAP and Tissot. We’re just scratching the surface of what this league can be and look forward to building on the momentum from this season in the months and years to come.