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NBA 2K partners with league for new championship

NBA 2K game developer Take-Two Interactive, the NBA, the National Basketball Players Association and ESL will launch the NBA 2K20 Global Championship, which will feature more than $100,000 in prize money, in October, the four companies announced Tuesday.

The multievent circuit will feature both online and offline events and will run from October to February, which aligns with the offseason for the NBA 2K League, which ran from April to August this year. NBA 2K20 was released on Sept. 6.

“We’re excited to partner with the NBA, NBPA and ESL to create this first-of-its-kind tournament for NBA 2K,” 2K senior vice president of basketball operations Jason Argent said in a news release. “For anyone who is interested to test how their skills match up on a global scale, we encourage you to register and see if you truly have what it takes to become the best head-to-head player in the world.”

Online events will run in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, with offline regional events occurring in Los Angeles, Paris and Sydney, where winners will take home $15,000. The series will conclude in a championship event at the ESL studio in Los Angeles on Feb. 22, with the winner netting $100,000.

The NBA 2K League concluded its second season in August.

Twenty-one teams, owned and operated by their NBA counterparts, competed in the league, with T-Wolves Gaming facing 76ers GC in the finals. Charlotte Hornets affiliate Hornets Venom GT will join the league in the 2020 season, marking 22 of the 30 NBA teams with brands in the league.

The Global Championship announcement continues to expand the overlap between the NBA and esports. Outside of the 2K League, 17 NBA teams or their owners have invested in esports teams or consumer products. That trend started with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban investing in esports betting site startup Unikrn in early 2015 and now includes organizations such as the Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks parent Madison Square Garden company.

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