Image Credit: NBAE/Getty Images
The NBA 2k League has added its first international team from an unexpected candidate.
News broke the other day that Gen.G, a global esports organization, will launch a Shanghai team for the 2020 season. This not only marks the addition of the NBA 2K League’s 23rd team but also the first one from outside of North America.
Gen.G’s Shanghai franchise will be at the focal point of the organization and league’s long-term strategic relationship. The league is looking to utilize both Gen.G’s influence within the Asian market and brand to expand the league’s global footprint beyond the United States.
— NBA 2K League (@NBA2KLeague) September 27, 2019
And although the team will represent Shanghai, China, the competitors will train at gen.G’s Los Angeles HQ during the 2020 season. We’ve already seen the rivalry of two established New York teams between NetsGC and Knicks Gaming. But, since one of Gen.G’s investors is LA Clippers alternate governor Dennis Wong, will the Shanghai team represent the other LA representative or will we see a Clippers team as well?
There are a lot of questions that come from this, the league has really utilized regional marketing thanks to team’s affiliations with official NBA teams as well as the video game, NBA2k. But, with the NBA 2K League’s recent partnership with Tencent, the league’s first distribution partner in China, as well as their previous APAC Invitational…does this mean separate combine,recruiting and marketing will have to occur? Also, is Gen.G going to hire an NBA 2K community member to facilitate with what’s going on?
Even though there are many questions I still have, can’t say that this isn’t a big historic moment for both entities.
“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,” said NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue. “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.”
— Chris Park (@almostbernard) September 27, 2019
Luckily for the NBA 2K League, Gen.G has become a forward thinking organization and brand. Previously, they’ve created an All-Women Bumble Fortnite team and now, they’ve dipped their toes into new esports territory for them.
“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,” said Chris Park, CEO of Gen.G. “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.”
We will have to wait and see but all in all, this is great to see for esports in general!