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By Stoyan Todorov eSports 24 Mar 2018 219 views

The National Basketball Association is the first professional organisation in the United States that will host its own eSports league. So far, 17 NBA franchises have stated their intention to participate in the competitions. The NBA 2K League will sport a hefty $1 million prize pool, which winners will divvy up.

Officially, the league will draft its competitors on 4 April in New York. Anyone who is over the age of 18 may participate as long as they own an original copy of the game for either Xbox or PlayStation.

The league will have other specifics regarding the educational background and experience of the individual. For starters, prospective entrants will need to have graduated successfully from high school.

Another prerequisite is to have won 50 games in the Pro-Am mode before January 2018. Overall, the best 102 entrants will participate in the May’s opening salvo of games.

An important feature of the league is that those who qualify for a contract will receive monthly salaries of up to $35,000 a month for a six-month contract. Similar to mainstream athletes, out of pocket expenses, accommodation and travel costs will be duly taken care of by the athletes’ home organisations.

NBA estimates that merging mainstream with eSports is a brilliant opportunity for the organisation to tap into 130 million competitive gamers, and the industry is already shaping up to be worth millions of dollars every year.

Cited by Reuters, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said: ‘We believe we have a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the young and growing esports community.’

This is a perfect opportunity for NBA to expand and attract a completely different audience, which in the words of eSports consultancy Story Mob co-founder Nicola Piggott is a ‘win-win for all parties.’