The NBA is teaming up with Take Two Interactive to launch a professional video game league based on the game publisher’s NBA 2K series.
The new eSports league will be the biggest collaboration to date between traditional and digital sports, with components mimicking the actual NBA such as a player combine, draft, regular-season games and playoffs starting in 2018.
The founding teams will be composed of five professional eSports players who will compete as user-created avatars, with the teams backed and operated by actual NBA clubs.
“We believe we have a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the young and growing eSports community,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.
“We look forward to combining our best-in-class NBA sports team operators with Take-Two’s competitive gaming expertise to create a brand new league experience.”
The relationship between NBA and Take-Two dates back to 1999, with the NBA 2K series selling over 68 million units worldwide.
In December, 2K launched its second official eSports competition, NBA 2K17 All-Star Tournament, a 5-on-5 tournament that features a $250,000 grand prize and culminates in New Orleans during the league’s All-Star break.