Esports organization Gen.G, which competes in a number of other esports titles, will launch a Shanghai-based NBA 2K League franchise set to participate as the 23rd team in the 2020 season, the league announced today.
The inclusion marks both the first non-NBA affiliate and first team outside of North America to play in the league. The team will train at Gen.G’s Los Angeles facility.
League Managing Director Brendan Donohue had always described the idea of international expansion as a “when,” not “if” scenario, with today being the first realization of that goal.
“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,” he said in a league-issued press release. “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 NBA 2K League said the new team will be the “centerpiece” of a long-term strategic relationship between it and Gen.G which will help grow the league’s global player pool and fanbase. The two organizations will collaborate on identifying and developing talent in Asia, brand development in Asia and esports programming. The goal is to provide a pipeline of Asian NBA 2K talent, develop league content for social platforms and promote the league to fans globally.
“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. “We have big plans to help grow the NBA 2K League in communities around the world that are passionate about basketball and video games.”
The NBA 2K League has previously dipped its toes into the international waters, first with the Asia-Pacific Invitational tournament held in Hong Kong earlier this year which pitted a number of regional players against each other, a few of which were hand-selected by the league at tournament’s end for the season two draft pool. Additionally, season two Finals MVP BearDaBeast is currently promoting the league in China.
@BearDaBeast23 @TWolvesGaming @SportsDiplomacy At the Foshan Gaming Center, big time players wear big time shades😎 @BearDaBeast23 #YearoftheBear https://t.co/LB2gQ5C3HD
The league also announced Gen.G and Hornets Venom GT, announced as a 2020 expansion franchise earlier this year, will participate in the expansion draft lottery on Oct. 4.
Additional details about Gen.G’s NBA 2K League team will be announced at a later date, the league said.
Gen.G is the parent company of Seoul Dynasty in the Overwatch League, and has founded and acquired competitive teams in games including League of Legends, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Clash Royale, Fortnite, Call of Duty and Apex Legends.