Sep 25, 2019

How NBA 2k's infrastructure sets the bar for esports

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at the NBA 2k league draft. Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The esports industry continues to tussle with creating viable paths for amateur gamers to turn pro, but the NBA 2k league seems to have come up with something that's working.

How it works: Anyone who owns the game has a legitimate shot at getting into the 2k league.

All you have to do is play in 2k's Pro-Am mode. Once players reach a certain number of wins they qualify for the league's combine where 2k officials evaluate their performance head to head against the competition. Play well in the combine and chances are you'll enter 2k's draft pool.

Why it matters: The league's blueprint for finding talent could eventually become the norm as new games emerge and expand around the industry.

  • "One of the things we do really well at the NBA is we have a funneling process. We wanted to take that and give our teams as solid a base as possible," Director of League Operations Daniel Tsay tells Axios.
  • 2k leans on the NBA to help with "the little things" like creating competition committees and designing infrastructure, Tsay said.

Between the lines: Esports' infrastructure hasn't been established because it's so young and teams are rarely tied to specific esports like the NBA 2k league teams are, esports consultant Rod Breslau notes.

  • "A draft in some leagues means breaking up already established good teams as more are added," Breslau tells Axios. "Fans typically don't want that."

The big picture: 2k's method of digging up talent is working. It might not be perfectly replicable for already-established leagues, but more fledgling esports with already built bases may certainly give it a try.

Go deeper

Dominic Cummings: "I respectfully disagree" that I broke U.K. lockdown rules

Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

Dominic Cummings, the top aide to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, defended himself Monday against allegations that he broke the U.K.'s coronavirus lockdown rules during a Downing Street press conference.

What he said: "I respectfully disagree. The legal rules do not necessarily cover all circumstances, especially the ones I found myself in."

Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won't change

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.

Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina if capacity reduced

President Trump on stage during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Monday tweets to move this summer's Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, doesn't allow the event to be held at full capacity.

The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.