Executives Bullish On a Bright Future for the NBA 2K League

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The accessibility of the sport and the countless opportunities for partnerships will be key for success.

Founder, Majority Owner, Chariman and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment Ted Leonsis (Photo courtesy of Jason Stein)

Last week, Ted Leonsis, Founder and Chairman of Monumental Sports and Entertainment, hosted the Esports & Wizards NBA 2K League Global Summit. MSE showcased this event to a worldwide audience through Twitch and other live OTT platforms, including MSE owned, Monumental Sports Network.

This event elucidated the multiple opportunities for brands and sponsors to partner with MSE, NBA 2K League and the rapidly growing esports industry.

“Esports will be the largest participatory activity, surpassing all other sports because it’s worldwide,” said Leonsis. “No limits to the NBA and the brand building opportunities presented through NBA 2K league and esports!”

MSE and many others across the NBA have realized the potential of esports and have already begun to move into the community with the NBA 2K League.

As the inaugural season of the NBA 2K League approaches, brands and sponsors are looking for ways to get involved with this innovative initiative.

“The most important thing you can do is create brand authenticity and the NBA 2K League presents a ground floor opportunity for new sponsors with endless opportunities for sponsorship activations,” said MSE Director of Esports, Grant Parajanepe.

Through various digital activations, brands will be able to integrate themselves with the 2K League, individuals teams and players social accounts, helping generate a personalized fan experience.

We are all familiar with the phrase “Content is King,” and MSE sees many partnership opportunities for co-branded content through the 2K league platform.

MSE will have a production team to create unique content to showcase the launch and journey of the Wizards esports franchise. From behind the scenes content of the foundation of the Wizards esports team to exclusive live training sessions, fan conversations, and Q&A with players, the co-branding content opportunities are endless.

Multiple ways to help display partners brands. (Photo courtesy of Monumental Sports and Entertainment)

Managing Director of NBA 2K League, Brendan Donohue emphasized the games global appeal and added, “Partners, Brands, and sponsors love partnering with a game that is ‘E’ for everyone and a safe rating allows for all audiences to engage.”

One way brands can activate through the NBA 2K League is with Virtual Courtside Signage activated throughout the Regular season and Playoffs.

An average NBA 2K game depending on in-game settings can be roughly 25 minutes or longer giving brands plenty of time to activate their brand in a highly engaged manner.

With a long season full of games, practice and other virtual events, brands will have many of the same opportunities seen throughout traditional sports venues.

Another way brands can activate through NBA 2K League. (Photo courtesy of Monumental Sports and Entertainment)

These virtual signs will appear throughout the game courtside and will have a rotational signage system helping to generate more activations as the game is being played.

Another partnership opportunity is through the virtual MyCareer Player as sponsors can activate through a virtual patch as well as through other in-game digital opportunities.

Photo courtesy of Monumental Sports and Entertainment

Also keep in mind that out of the 17 teams in the 2K League the Washington Wizard, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, and Indiana Pacers are the only 4 teams without in-game jersey sponsorship patches.

Could these four teams be waiting to find the right partnership for not only on the physical court but the virtual court as well?

“It is a brand new audience and we will have some crossover with our traditional fans, but esports allows us to reach new segment of fans and it provides a huge opportunity.” –Zach Leonsis, MSE’s General Manager and Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives

The new audience the league will draw is attractive to brands and sponsors, as the NBA 2K League provides a familiar structure with a unique and futuristic twist for partners. Twitch and other OTT platforms will be extremely influential in helping MSE and the 2K League reach this brand new global audience.

This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.

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