NBA 2K eLeague news!! There's news!!!
By Aaron Callaghan
Some NBA 2K eLeague news has come to light from an interview conducted by a German website over last weekend's GamesCom event in Cologne, Germany. First of all shouts to @ChrisfromDCMVP on Twitter who sent the article to me and to www.gameswelt.tv for the interview.
The NBA eLeague's managing director Brendan Donohue was interviewed outside the GamesCom event in Cologne over the weekend and was forthcoming with some details about how the NBA 2K eLeague may look including a rough timeline. I have outlined below the main points from the video and how I interpret Brendan's words.
The Quick Take
- Players will prepare during the week, then fly out to a central studio for game days.
- The NBA received more interest than they anticipated, expect expansion in season 2.
- Brendan spoke of expansion to all corners of the world (shouts to Germany and China!).
- Players will stream practices and participate in grass roots community events.
- The draft combine will take place approximately February 2018.
The NBA received a higher than anticipated amount of interest for the very first season of the NBA 2K eLeague, initially hoping for 8 interested NBA teams and aiming for 12, as we know the NBA eLeague's first season will commence with 17 teams, interestingly teams also registered their interest after the announcement date, almost guaranteeing expansion in season 2, it would not be shocking to see 30 teams participating next year.
"In addition we've had several teams since then, express interest in getting in at year 2, I would logically think we're going to expand pretty quickly" - Brendan Donohue.
The NBA 2K Franchise is the most popular game in the United States, moreover it is also the second most popular sports game worldwide. Basketball is enormous in China (read: Shouts to China Klay!) and eSports expansion in to China must be at the forefront of the NBA's thinking, Brendan expects to see teams outside of the US in the future, listing Shanghai as potential location.
NBA 2K eLeague games will be played in a central studio to ensure the same connectivity, no longer will 2K players be able to blame lag or 2K servers! This poses so many questions around scheduling, how will the league schedule its game days? Perhaps a European Champions league style 'Match day' centered around marquee NBA match-ups on National TV? Flights once a week to the central studio? Brendan hints at weekend games, more on that below.
"We want to be in a studio because we want an environment where we can have perfect connectivity in terms of actual game-play. Nothing is more important to us, than having the best players in the world and having the best possible quality of game" - Brendan Donohue
Busy Schedules for Players - Life in the eLeague
Brendan suggests that players may play on weekends and then have busy weekly schedules, his wording is interesting. Perhaps games on weekends in a central studio and then back to base to prepare for next weeks block of games.
"In between games, players will streams practices, participate in grass roots events and build up that fan base in the local community"
Where can Fans Watch Games?
Although nothing is confirmed as of yet, Brendan suggest in the next 30 to 60 days that picture would become clearer. It would be reasonable to see a large broadcaster pick up a 'marquee' game each week for example ESPN (read: who have already shown an interest in broadcasting eSports) and have the rest of the games streamed on NBA League pass, Twitch or YouTube, it would however make sense for the NBA to keep their official game content in house. That begs the question where will practices and grass roots events be streamed?
How Can I get Drafted?!?
We all knew about the NBA 2K eLeague combine, we've spoken about it ad-nauseam on this blog, I spoke about the combine and it's potential on the very first Green Release NBA 2K eLeague Podcast (Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYd5tRd45Ho&t=344s). The NBA 2K Draft Combine is a very real thing, questions over it's actual validity and usefulness with regard to scouting players remains to be seen. That being said, do not hesitate, show out in the combine and you might rocket up someone's draft boards.
Brendan suggests the combine will take place around February, does this mean the draft will take place in March? Leaving a small window to play games in conjunction with the NBA finals?
A very interesting interview with the NBA 2K eLeague's General Manager, Brendan Donohue, @BDeagles on Twitter, where Brendan pulled back the curtains a little and gave us a glimpse in to what the eLeague might look like.
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The full video can be found at http://www.gameswelt.tv/nba-2k18/der-managing-director-brendan-donohue-im-interview,59819