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Boston Celtics Team President Rich Gotham told Loyalty360 that he is very excited about the franchise’s participation in the inaugural NBA 2K League, which is set to begin in May. The NBA 2K League is a joint venture between the NBA and Take Two Interactive, publishers of the online game NBA 2K. It’s a professional eSports league featuring the best 2K players in the world, and the first eSports league tied to the NBA.
The Celtics-affiliated team is known as CLTX.
“The 2K league gives us a unique brand extension opportunity for the Celtics to connect with some of our most avid fans in an authentic way,” Gotham said. “For fans who love the Celtics and NBA 2K, we will provide them with an incremental way to engage with the Celtics through live game play and related unique CLTX team and player content. This is really the first time the Celtics have ever extended our championship brand tradition into another venture, which is both unique for us and fans of the team.”
The inaugural season tips off in May and runs through August. Prior to the start of the season, players go through tryouts in February and a draft in March. All players must be at least 18 years old to participate in the tryout and to be drafted to the league. So far, 17 NBA teams are participating in the inaugural season. Each NBA 2K League team features players competing as unique characters in 5v5 gameplay.
“We looked at the 2K league as a great engagement platform to reach both avid Celtics and eSports fans,” Gotham said. “There are 9 million fans who play NBA 2K worldwide, and over 400 million eSports fans, with 70 percent of NBA fans being gamers. These fans spend increasingly more time in front of a gaming console than they do watching traditional sports on television. Engaging with our fans in the mediums where they are spending their time provides us with a hedge as sports media consumption evolves.”
Gotham said that the medium is clearly different, as fans will largely watch CLTX competition through online live streaming versus in person at the arena.
“There will be a whole new group of Celtics / CLTX players for fans to follow and engage with,” Gotham added. “The idea is to make our CLTX 2K players highly accessible to fans, even giving fans the opportunity to scrimmage with and play against the best in the world online. It will also give male and female Celtics fans who may not envision themselves ever making it to the NBA as a player, inspiration that they could one day play for the CLTX, perhaps a more achievable dream for some.”
The NBA and the business of the Celtics has become a year-round business with fans from all over the world able to follow the team and players via digital media, Gotham noted.
“We go from the regular season to the playoffs, to the draft, to free agency, to summer league,” Gotham added. “Having live CLTX competition, storylines, and content throughout the summer months will further contribute to that year-round fan engagement and dialogue.”
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