INDIANAPOLIS — Professional gaming is an up-and-coming industry and the NBA continues to grow its sector of pro gaming as it heads into its fifth season of the NBA 2K League.
The league includes 24 teams affiliated with NBA franchises, including the Indiana Pacers, who compete in tournaments scheduled throughout the year. The last two seasons have been held virtually because of the pandemic.
This year things are back to normal and the new NBA 2K League season will take place at the Pavilion of Pan-Am Plaza in downtown Indianapolis and will culminate in a huge championship tournament planned for August.
“Finding the right home was incredibly important, especially coming off those two remote years,” said Lindsay Ullman, head of business development with the NBA 2K League, on Inside Indiana Business. “Indianapolis has a rich history of basketball culture and we felt it was time to bring the next iteration of basketball, virtual basketball, to Indianapolis.”
The tournament will consist of standard 5-on-5 competition between the 24 professional teams that compete throughout the season. But, at the championship event, they plan to hold a 3-on-3 tournament as well where both the professionals and amateur gamers can compete against each other.
Ullman said they have $2.5 million in prize money to hand out to the winners, which is a huge increase compared to what they have offered up in the past.
Ullman added the NBA has really embraced the growth of esports over the last several years.
“I was talking to one of our players, and he was telling me how [when] esports started, people were literally packing their own Playstation or Xbox, plugging it in and competing in tournaments,” she said. “Now, you have companies like the NBA and Take Two partnering together on a joint venture to launch an official esports league.”