The NBA 2K League started in 2018 with an interesting starting point: a group of professional teams, each connected to an NBA team, who play a virtual representation of the sport. Now, after two seasons, the competition wants to go beyond the NBA with a new club in Shanghai. The Chinese team is the first in the competition outside of North America and the first that is not managed by an NBA team.
The currently unnamed team will be owned and managed by Gen.G, a multi-game e-sport organization that currently has teams in PUBG, Fortnite, League of Legends, and also owns the Seoul Dynasty Overwatch League. The Shanghai team is taking part in the competition in 2020 and it will be based from the Gen.G office in Los Angeles. Like all others 2K Competition teams, it plays games in the studio of the competition in New York.
It is not yet clear how the team will be connected to Shanghai alongside its name, but the expansion shows how the 2K League could stand out from its counterpart in the real world and possibly find a new audience in places that the NBA cannot reach in the same way. “This is a historic moment in the NBA 2K League & # 39; s journey to becoming a truly global competition with fans, franchises and players from all over the world, " 2K League director Brendan Donohue said in a statement.
It also continues a trend of e-sport competitions trying to become global, something that is more challenging in traditional sports because of the physical strain of travel. In particular, the Overwatch League – with teams spread across North America, Europe and Asia – will play teams from their home towns from next season, just like the upcoming renewed ones Duty professional circuit. Over the first two seasons, the 2K League has failed to win the same scale of audience as its biggest competitors, but global expansion may potentially help the league grow significantly.
"Gen.G's unique core mission – connecting e-sports fans and athletes in the US and Asia – is intended for ambitious companies like this," said CEO Chris Gen.G in a statement. “We have big plans to help grow NBA 2K Competition in communities around the world that are passionate about basketball and video games. "