Technology

Find out which new league Sacramento Kings are joining

Sacramento Kings make NBA history, host esports at halftime

The Sacramento Kings home court turned into a digital battleground Wednesday as Nairo, top professional NRG ESports Super Smash Bros. player, went head-to-head with a local tournament competitor. (Video and editing by Jessica Hice.)
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The Sacramento Kings home court turned into a digital battleground Wednesday as Nairo, top professional NRG ESports Super Smash Bros. player, went head-to-head with a local tournament competitor. (Video and editing by Jessica Hice.)

The Sacramento Kings announced Thursday they will join 16 other NBA teams to participate in the inaugural NBA 2K eSports League.

The NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, a New York-based video game company, announced the professional competitive eSports gaming league will follow a professional sports league format.

Ryan Montoya, chief technology officer for the Kings, said NBA 2K will allow 5-vs.-5 game play. Players can customize their avatar or character to have select skill sets, different from the previous NBA 2K models.

“ESports is just part of the overall strategy to be as innovative as possible to engage fans,” Montoya said.

Brendan Donahue, managing director of the NBA 2K eSports league, said the goal is to engage more with basketball fans.

“The city of Sacramento has transformed around the Golden 1 Center, they are a tech-savvy team. It is not surprising that they jumped on board and are ecstatic,” Donahue said.

The Kings already have ties to the video game world, as co-owners Andrew Miller and Mark Mostrov founded the NRG eSports league, but the NBA 2K eSports league will be owned by the NBA solely.

Other NBA teams participating include the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards.

Donahue said more updates will be available throughout 2017.

Jessica Hice: 916-321-1550, @Jess_Hice

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