NBA 2K League targets a broad audience with virtual draft

The NBA 2K League draft, a professional esports league co-founded by the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, is going fully virtual this year, in collaboration with live entertainment and brand experience company Superfly. 

The fourth annual event will be live streamed on March 13 at 7 PM EST on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels. Superfly is handling the creative and influencer strategy and producing the event. 

Viewers can also tune into channels hosted by influencers for complimentary viewing, including inside a virtual VIP lounge and a 2KL draft pickup channel. 

The goal is to expand the 2K audience with influencer partnerships, including Instagram comedian Druski, who will emcee the 2KL pick-up game; Los Pollos TV, which will co-stream the draft, and Overtime Megan and Killa Kay, Instagram and TikTok influencers who will participate in the Virtual VIP Lounge. 

NBA 2K is an event generally attended by professional gamers, but the influencer tie-ups ensure people don’t need to be hardcore fans of 2K to enjoy the event, said Eric Ginsberg, senior director of business leadership at Superfly.  

“[This campaign] speaks to the convergence of sports, gaming and entertainment,” he said. “The 2K league is trying to bring people interested in the NBA, pop culture and gaming together.” 

The campaign also includes interactive elements for the audience. Viewers can take polls on Twitch before and during the draft, and those tuning in can choose a virtual background for NBA 2K League president Brendan Donohue as he announces the draft picks. 

On Thursday (March 11), the NBA 2K League announced a pool of 265 players eligible for the draft, including 33 international players from nine countries and 10 women, who became eligible through both the League Draft’s prospect series and its Women in Gaming initiative. 

Special guests will announce the draft picks, including hip-hop artists 2 Chainz and Big Latto, Boston Celtics president Rich Gotham, NBA Champion Robert Horry, EVP of operations for Hornets Sports & Entertainment James Jordan, Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and former NBA player Quentin Richardson. 

Hip-hop group ISO INDIES will perform at the event.

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