E-sports gaming is certainly on the rise, and the National Basketball Association (NBA) has surely taken notice.
Following the success of several online video game competitions around the world, the world’s premier basketball organization has partnered up with Take-Two Interactive Software—the makers of the mega-popular NBA video game—to form a first-of-its-kind NBA 2K series e-sports league.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver himself, along with Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick, announced the partnership on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), which will feature 30 NBA 2K teams, owned by real-life NBA franchises.
“The popularity of NBA 2K with the young and growing e-sports community provides a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the gaming community,” Silver said in a statement.
Much like the real game, the teams will be compromised of five human players and will play out a five-month tournament which mirrors the real NBA season.
The winningest teams from the regular season of head-to-head games will then duke it out in the playoffs, then two of the best will square off at the championship matchup, ESPN reported.
True to its e-sports nature, each professional player will receive adequate training and will be rewarded with hefty salaries for their efforts.
Silver did not delve into the league’s initial level of investment in the online tournament, although he expressed hopes for at least half of the league’s 30 franchises to be able to field a team.
The league exec also noted that no existing NBA players will be involved in the tournament, but they could have a hand in drafting the best gamers in the world who’ll be regarded as “full-time employees of the league.”
The competition will take place in remote sites or actual NBA arenas where fans can view the tourney live, he said.
Although players have yet to be identified, the Philippines’ own NBA 2K17 Asian regional champion Custer George Galas could be among the potential line-up of NBA 2K professional gamers.
The Caloocan native bested eight other participants from Asia last month to take home the title. Khristian Ibarrola