Take-Two jump into eSports with NBA collaboration
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Take-Two jump into eSports with NBA collaboration

Take-Two has held off on the eSports craze currently consuming its rivals, like Activision and Electronic Arts. But now, that’s all set to change. The company behind massive gaming successes like Grand Theft Auto has partnered with the National Basketball Association (NBA) to launch an eSports organization. This marks the first time that a virtual league has been owned by a pro sports league.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver told CNBC that:

“It's based on the same bricks-and-mortar model of a league that we currently operate. But it opens up an entirely new world. So rather than being dependent on a limited pool, even though a global pool, of players with a certain prowess, this opens up a league to virtually everyone...everyone's on equal footing in this league, it's just a question of how good of a gamer you are.”

The new league will be called NBA 2K eLeague, and will focus on Take-Two’s NBA 2K titles. Teams in the league will be run by the NBA’s current 30 franchises and will follow a tournament format similar to the one used by the NBA in its ‘real-world’ matches.

Take-Two is up 16% already this year

take two graph

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Both Take-Two and the NBA think that there’s a big eSports following to be found. According to Silver:

“We believe we have a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the young and growing eSports community.”

Take-Two’s CEO Strauss Zelnick, who has held back from embracing the nascent eSports market thus far, seems finally to have embraced the proposition. He told CNBC:

“It’s our collective view that what consumers are looking for is a professional league with professional players with a sport that’s beloved, a sport that won’t come and go, but that will only grow in popularity.”

Analyses are broadly in agreement that eSports will be a big part of gaming in the future. Ben Schachter, from Macquarie Capital Markets, said:

“It’s an exciting trend and one with long-term prospects, as it’s one of a few themes that encompasses interactive entertainment, media, iGaming, virtual reality and mobile. Investments by professional sports teams into eSports is a way to maintain viewership and engagement and to connect with Millenials. Overall, we expect this trend to accelerate.”

Dominion holds Take-Two, Activision Blizzard, and Electronic Arts in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.

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