The NBA 2K League is adding a team from Shanghai for next season, which will become the first franchise outside of North America to join the National Basketball Association’s esports property.
The team – the league’s 23rd – will be operated by Gen.G and operate from the multi-game esports organization’s Los Angeles headquarters in 2020.
Notably, it is the first NBA 2K League team not affiliated with an NBA franchise. Gen.G’s investors include Los Angeles Clippers’ alternate governor Dennis Wong, however.
The NBA 2K League and Gen.G will also collaborate on player development and talent identification in Asia, brand development in Asia, and worldwide esports and gaming programming.
“This is a historic moment in the NBA 2K League’s journey to becoming a truly global league with fans, franchises and players from all over the world,” NBA 2K League managing director Brendan Donohue said in a statement.
The majority of NBA 2K League’s matches take place at its studio in New York City, although the league also staged events in Las Vegas and Orlando this year.
Donohue told SportBusiness in March that the league was looking to have international franchises in the future.
“We think [going on the road] is the first big step for us in to grow the league in other markets and that includes globally,” he said. “We think there is a great opportunity for this to be a global league –and so whether that is players or fans…the next stage after that is actually international franchises, which we think is on the close horizon.”