The NBA 2K League will take at least one of its events on the road in the coming season, managing director Brendan Donohue announced on Tuesday evening.
The NBA’s competitive esports league is primarily based at Brooklyn Studios in Long Island City, New York. But like the Overwatch League, it will go on the road in its second season to get closer to its fans.
Multiple cities and venues across the US have expressed interest in hosting the events.
“This year we will be taking one if not two of our tournaments on the road,” Donohue told reporters ahead of the 2019 Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. “We love that energy in the studio and so we think it’s a great opportunity for us to bring that on the road and let more markets experience that.”
Donohue added that the league could also 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.”
This season the NBA 2K League is increasing its prize fund by $200,000 to $1.2m (€1.06m).
On the league’s commercial goals for the 2019 season, Donohue said: “What we’re focusing on most is scaling the league and continue to grow our audience. We’re going to test new channels and new audiences because we think we can scale this in a much bigger way.”
US technology company Intel has a three-year partnership with the NBA 2K League as an Official Technology Partner of the league and the Presenting Partner of the NBA 2K League Studio, where Intel Core and Intel Xeon processors provide the technology infrastructure for the league’s matches.
“Intel chose to get into the 2K League primarily because we had a pre-existing deal with the NBA as an Official Partner and this was an opportunity to go deeper with the NBA,” Shawn Bryant, the Intel Sports managing director, told SportBusiness.
“We’re all about being where gamers are and we’re really encouraged by the week-over-week participation and viewership. This gives us the ability to engage with a broader, younger audience and an audience that may be esports-first.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Raynor Gaming was signed as the league’s Official Gaming Chair. Raynor Gaming is currently a partner of both 76ers GC and Cavs Legion GC.