The League of the Future, NBA 2K Leauge.

As a sports fan it’s easy to agree that it would be amazing to be a professional athlete. With our athleticism, (or lack thereof) technology has slowly made that dream a slightly tangible reality through the use of video games. It started off by being able to play as your favourite team, which then lead to playing specifically your favourite player, which then progressed to creating yourself as a player who gets drafted to play for your favourite team. This digital reality is now a thing of the past as we transition to professional video game athletes.

Welcome to the NBA 2K League.

The NBA 2K League is a professional gaming realm in which fans of the NBA and 2K franchise have the opportunity to become professional gaming athletes who showcase their skill to a shockingly large audience.

Brendan Donohue who previously has 22 years’ experience working in the NBA has transferred his knowledge and experience to the 2K League as he operates as the Managing Director of the NBA 2K League.

The league, which is almost done its first season has been an extreme learning opportunity for Donohue and his colleagues. Donohue notes that the biggest thing learned about the league is the beauty of a digital product. As the gaming is broadcasted on Twitch, it allows for an abundance of real time information coming from fans that Donohue and his team can learn from with respect to what is working and what isn’t working for the athletes and the league.  

Donohue expresses that there are three main factors to get attracting audiences: awareness, engagement and immersion. Much like a typical marketing model.


Notably there are three audiences that Donohue refers to. The first is those who are hard-core gamers who have a passion for the 2K franchise. Second is the 1.4 billion NBA fans, and lastly the increasingly growing 200 million eSports community. Of these three audiences, the three audience attraction characteristics are marketed in a different way to each audience member.

For large companies on the other hand, becoming a sponsor for the 2K League can be scary for some since this is such a new market that has become available. Conversely, this hesitation for NBA sponsors to sign with the league is alleviated due to the fact that both the infamous NBA and 2K brands are associated with the league thus showing their validity.

For companies who are not necessarily associated with the NBA but would like to be a sponsor (i.e., Mercedes Benz), they too have nothing to worry as the game and league is rated as E for Everyone which means that sponsors don’t have to worry about their sponsorship representing something that doesn’t support their own brand.

As much as this concept may be hard to grasp, it appears that the 2K league and gaming realm is a true way to becoming a professional athlete. Players go through a draft to be selected to play for a team. When on a team, they practice by playing for approximately an hour and a half, go to the gym together as a team and then watch game film. Players practice, train, and are taught the importance of a healthy lifestyle such as sleep, vision and diet.

NBA 2K League is very much a real ground-breaking sport which the sport industry is recognizing. Oracle Arena, home to the Golden State Warriors has built a section of their stadium that is dedicated for 2K matches. Donohue notes that the infrastructure is already there so why wouldn’t it be a great idea to place athletes in actual stadiums?

If you’re a sports fan who’s dream is to become a professional athlete and play in your favourite team’s stadium, then all you have to do is be able to pick up a controller.

To follow the NBA 2K Leauge, follow the hashtag #NBA2KLeague & @bnmagency for updates on how it will all go down!

Connor Allen

B&M Agency Intern
PR Officer & Content Contributer