The Milwaukee Bucks will play real basketball on the court in 2018, of course, but they’ll also be playing virtually, competing in a new professional video game league.
The franchise announced this morning its commitment to fielding a team in the recently launched NBA 2K eSports league, which tips off in 2018.
Co-owner Wes Edens purchased and created in January the eSports brand FlyQuest, his investment group’s first foray into the rapidly expanding virtual gaming industry that is projected to reach nearly $1.5 million revenue by 2020. The Bucks’ NBA 2K squad will be separate from FlyQuest, a United States-based "League of Legends" team.
"This is an incredible opportunity for us to get in on the ground floor of an industry that is enjoying immense growth and has so much untapped potential," Bucks President Peter Feigin said. "We’re thrilled to see the NBA continuing to lead the charge in forming this innovative league, and look forward to engaging a whole new segment of basketball and eSports fans with the Bucks brand."
Milwaukee will be one of 17 NBA franchises competing in the 2K league during its inaugural season, joining the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards.
"This is the first step in what promises to be an extraordinary league, bringing together the world’s best gamers and showcasing elite competition on an international stage," said NBA 2K eSports league Managing Director Brendan Donohue. "Our teams have expressed tremendous enthusiasm for eSports, and we are looking forward to forming something truly unique for basketball and gaming fans around the globe."
In February, the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software announced plans to debut a new gaming league that brings together the best virtual ballers in the world. The groundbreaking association will comprise teams operated by NBA franchises and composed of five professional eSports players who compete as user-created avatars.
The NBA 2K eSports league will follow an organized, official sports league format, with teams competing head-to-head throughout a regular season, participating in a bracketed playoff system and ending with a championship matchup.
In the coming months, the league and its teams will make additional announcements related to participating players, team branding, league structure and business updates.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.