The NBA 2K League will go international in 2020 with a Shanghai franchise launched by Chinese organisation Gen.G esports.
The Shanghai franchise will join the other 22 NBA 2K League teams at the start of the 2020 season and act as the first team outside of North America.
The international presence is said to be the focal point of a “long-term strategic relationship” between the NBA 2K League and Gen.G esports to help build the organisation’s multicultural brand and expand the global footprint of the U.S. operated professional league. The team will practice at the organisation’s Los Angeles headquarters – which opened for business in July – for the upcoming 2020 season.
Gen.G esports will work alongside the league on player development and talent identification in Asia, while structuring brand development and awareness in the mostly-untapped region. As a result, the two are hoping to foster “a world-class pipeline for the next generation of great Asian players” to compete in the NBA 2K League.
Brendan Donohue, Managing Director of NBA 2K League commented on the expansion: “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. Gen.G is the ideal organization to launch our first team from outside of North America, and we look forward to working with Gen.G to reach new fans in Shanghai and identify elite talent across Asia.”
The move marks the organisation’s second franchise in esports, already owning Seoul Dynasty in the Overwatch League. Moreover, the organisation already swaggers basketball in its bloodline; LA Clippers alternate governor Dennis Wong contributed towards a $46m investment round for Gen.G esports in April.
Chris Park, CEO of Gen.G esports also spoke on the venture: “We are honored to help lead the NBA 2K League’s expansion into Asia and proud to represent Shanghai on behalf of the hundreds of millions of Chinese fans who love basketball and video games. Gen.G’s unique core mission — to connect esports fans and athletes across the U.S. and Asia — is meant for ambitious ventures like this. We have big plans to help grow the NBA 2K League in communities around the world that are passionate about basketball and video games.”