In what is being seen as a breakthrough by many in the esports industry, the NBA 2K League, which began on the 5th May 2020, will now be shown live on the ESPN 2 network on Tuesday evening, expanding the potential audience of the tournament onto prime-time.
The broadcaster confirmed that it had reached a deal with the NBA 2K League to show its games on a Tuesday evening, as well as matches from Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights being streamed live on the ESPN app and ESPN.com.
Continuing demand for Esports
The current global situation sees many sports channels struggling to find enough sports to cover and as such, the demand for live esports events to be shown on these channels has increased markedly over the past few months.
ESPN has itself hosted an ESPN Esports Day on the 5th April, which comprised of 12 hours of esports coverage, mainly focusing on events like the League of Legends 2020 Championship Series Spring Split. Other broadcasters, such as Fox, have secured rights to show other esports events, such as NASCAR, while in the UK, F1 Esports racing events have been streamed live on Sky Sports.
Season Long Commitment
What is notable about the deal struck with ESPN and the NBA 2K League is that the commitment lasts for the entire NBA 2K League season. The company has already established a program of matches that it is going to show across its services up until the 26th May, with further details of other games being showcased after this date to be made available at some point in the near future.
The programs begin in the US at 7pm Eastern Time on ESPN 2 until at least May 19th and also on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights at 7pm on the ESPN app and ESPN.com from May 6th and throughout the entire NBA 2K season.
One thing that should be noted is that this newly announced deal, which came just in time for the start of the season, does not affect the broadcast of the tournament on Twitch and YouTube.
Additionally, for fans of NBA 2K in Canada, it has been announced that Sportsnet One and Sportsnet NOW will air live on Tuesday evening to show the action to their customers in Canada.
There's a new way to watch NBA 2K League games this season! 🚨
ESPN networks present @NBA2KLeague LIVE throughout the 2020 season.
Tuesdays | 7 p.m. ET | ESPN2
Wednesdays-Fridays | 7 p.m. ET | ESPN App
— NBA2KLeague (@NBA2KLeague) May 5, 2020
The news is a major coup for the NBA 2K League which is entering its third season of play with 23 teams now competing in the competition. The additional exposure that the league will receive from its prime evening slot on ESPN can only bolster the popularity of the league and of esports in general.
Indeed, the whole esports industry has received a boost from the lack of sport, with many more people tuning in to watch and participate in events online and also there have been many more esports bets placed over the past few weeks too. Now with the NBA 2K League in operation, you are likely going to see plenty of NBA 2K betting over the next few months too.