The NBA sends its stars to the gaming world but not its esports league

No sports simulation-based esports league needs a boost more than the NBA 2K League. A joint venture of the NBA and game publisher Take-Two Interactive, the league has struggled to gain a widespread following since its inception in 2018 — even compared with other sports games, which have historically lagged behind other genres, such as first-person shooters (“Counter-Strike: Global Offensive”; Overwatch), battle royal (Fortnite) and multiplayer online battle arena (League of Legends), in the esports landscape. The NBA 2K League’s highest peak viewer count is 61,800, compared with 244,000 for FIFA’s eWorld Cup. Both pale in comparison to the 3,986,000 peak viewer count for the League of Legends World Championship in 2019. The NBA 2K League’s Three for All Tournament reached a peak concurrent viewership of about 15,000 on Twitch during the final, according to StreamElements-provided data from SullyGnome, which both analyze online streaming metrics.

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