Sony and the NBA2K League have announced a “first of its kind” partnership for the PlayStation 5 and an esports league, in that the console will become the official console of the league. The NBA2K League will tip off in May, with all 23 NBA2K League teams and its 138 players using the console. Additionally, the league will be featured heavily through the PS5’s competition center.
As part of this partnership between Sony and the NBA2K League, the PS5 will be the presenting partner for the upcoming NBA 2KL Three for All showdown on April 9-10. It will feature various social media influencers teaming up with NBA2K League players competing in The City mode for a share of a $25,000 prize pool.
“NBA 2K League players are the best in the world at what they do, so it’s only fitting that they compete on the best gaming equipment in the world,” said NBA2K League President Brendan Donohue. “PlayStation is a long-standing global leader in interactive entertainment, and we are thrilled to be able to leverage their gaming expertise and technology to create the optimal experience for NBA2K League players and fans.”
Throughout the partnership, the NBA2K League plans to host global fan tournaments featuring league-related prizing through PlayStation’s Competition Center, an online platform that offers exclusive content, tips, and tricks from the best players in the world, and live coverage of some of the biggest esports events in the world. Additionally, PlayStation and the NBA2K League will collaborate on a custom content series that will run during NBA2K League broadcasts and on the league’s social and digital channels. Additionally, PlayStation will have a presence in league broadcasts through branding and signage in the league’s physical and virtual studios.
Sony has been investing heavily in esports over the past month. They acquired, not just sponsored, the Evolution Championship Series in the fighting game community. This, along with the PS5 partnership with the NBA2K League, shows that the console maker is finally serious about supporting esports. They’ve long been a proponent of console esports through various bits of functionality on the PS4, as well as through sponsoring events like Evo, but having a direct foothold in the esports world is something that the Japanese company has avoided.
It seems that this attitude is all in the past now, and could be a huge boon for the console esports space, especially as Sony moves into the next console generation with the PS5. Large marketing budgets have been unlocked by this new generation of consoles, and they’ll be looking to leverage any advantage they can to entice gamers into the Sony family of consoles over competition from Microsoft’s Series X.