For the first time, the NBA 2K League will have a team based outside the United States and not affiliated with one of the league’s teams. The NBA 2K League has announced that esports company Gen.G will field a team from Shanghai in 2020 that will compete against the other 22 teams in the league, all of which are owned and operated by NBA teams.
The new franchise is designed to be the centerpiece of a long-term relationship between the league and Gen.G to take advantage of the esports organization’s global brand and expand the league’s footprint overseas. The new team will train at Gen.G’s Los Angeles headquarters.
Gen.G’s investors include Los Angeles Clippers alternate governor Dennis Wong. Among other activations in esports, the company owns and operates the Seoul Dynasty in the Overwatch League and also competes in the China Clash Royale League.
“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,” said NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue. “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.”
As part of the deal, Gen.G will collaborate with the NBA 2K League on player development and talent identification in Asia, brand development in Asia and worldwide esports and gaming programming. The goal of the agreement is to create a pipeline of players in Asia and promote the league worldwide.
“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. “Gen.G’s unique core mission—to connect esports fans and athletes across the U.S. and Asia—is meant for ambitious ventures like this. We have big plans to help grow the NBA 2K League in communities around the world that are passionate about basketball and video games.”