We’re back with a review of the fourth episode of the NBA 2K League’s bi-weekly Twitch show, The Post Up. Check out the third review to situate yourself before diving into this week’s.
The Holiday Christmas schedule got more coal than anything else from Santa (not Santa Phil though, who made arguably his strongest appearance in the show’s history). The episode, which was actually taped on December 13, collected just 903 unique viewers, hit a season-low peak of 374 concurrent viewers, and actually lost three followers, per TwitchTracker.
Rather than spending this review entirely on review, I’d like to focus a little bit of what’s wrong with The Post Up and a few potential suggestions for fixing it.
A quick episode summary first: Heat Check Gaming manager youFamousEnough made a video appearance, definitely not doing work for other teams. Frank and Comp made their customary two-step appearance in the Pick and Roll debate and the NBA 2K lifestyle. Knicks Gaming star iamadamthe1st and Nets GC expansion pick Shockey came on the show and exchanged gifts.
The show’s length is a problem, especially during the offseason. Two hours, even once every two weeks, is simply too much. Any news that happens in the league sphere is unlikely to happen the Wednesday before or Thursday of taping, which means that—while rehashing news is good for both longtime and new viewers—it’s so few and far between at the moment that any sort of “Around the League” segment isn’t even a placeholder. Frank and Comp could go on forever, easily, but let them have their segment and then let them repair. The Post Up shouldn’t replace First Shake. The stream itself lasts at least 100 minutes, at peak dinnertime. NBA 2K League-produced content (not including break-spanning team content) does not fill that time. I calculated: for this 100-minute stream, league content took up about 70 minutes, not all of which was all that necessary.
A deeper issue is that in its current format the show offers little NBA 2K League insight foreign to the league’s fanbase. People who watch the league are generally people who play 2K enough to know, for example, that the left wing is the best spot to pull up for a right-handed point guard, as mentioned by iamadamthe1st. The players love Frank and Comp, but their debate inevitably stagnates when there’s nothing new to discuss. The players are generally good as guests, but there’s a limit during the offseason. Serious 2K League followers often have minimal interest in the show. There’s no film breakdown, no stats analysis. As for what there is, The Post Up is hardly the only place for it. Comp and the players are on Twitter. For people looking to watch a non-2K scrimmage between 2K-affiliated people, Twitch still exists. As skillful and entertaining as Erin and Phil are, not having Jeff Eisenband, who worked with and closely followed the league all season, is a big content loss for the moment. The most substance comes in the rare instances when someone from the league (Brendan Donohue, Daniel Tsay) makes a purposeful appearance. When segments stagnate, they seem to serve more as a placeholder—a cone, if you will—than as a purposeful element of the show.
Things will be different when the league gets here. The Post Up will likely become a weekly show. How about doing it the night before the week begins, as a trash-talk filled weekly preview show? This way, the hosts can ask entertaining segments and speculative NBA 2K L lifestyle questions to players who don’t yet feel like bitter rivals. As a weekly recap, diversify the portfolio. If you’re not going to bring in Scott Cole and Dirk, who played an integral role in popularizing season one to the extent that it was, how about let them do a weekly recap in the form of a podcast? The more media the better, and the two are in an unparalleled position to provide league insight and analysis. There are of course ways to improve just this show. More promotion before the day of, on social media and the league website. Shorten it to an hour by condensing the segments, rather than drawing them out. Make the show a must-watch destination through league news and high-level league announcements/guests (this is the place for commissioner Brendan Donohue’s semi-regular State of the Union).
The bottom line is that The Post Up, as the offseason progresses, is wearing thin and thusly exposing itself as the league’s attempt to produce a catch-all media product that tries to condense sports media (debate shows, lifestyle aspects, player interviews, and gaming, in particular) into one show. The problem is that it’s infrequent, promoted without panache and excitement, and doesn’t quite fit into all the stockings that it tries to fill. The viewership has correspondingly dropped, and the league hasn’t been able to drive up the numbers yet. There are bright spots—Comp and Frank are usually good, the guests can offer some insight (more tips a la Yeah I Compete, please!), the hosts are entertaining—but tree lights look a lot better on a tree than on the ceiling.