The Sacramento Kings announced plans earlier this week to build a dedicated esports facility inside their Golden 1 Center. The 2,100-square-foot facility will be constructed in preparation for the upcoming NBA 2K League.
The facility is set to open its doors in mid-January, shortly before the 2K league launches in May.
A venue within a venue
The new esports facility, built inside Kings’ pro sports venue, will include a training area, broadcast center, and gamer lounge. It will be utilized for the NBA 2K League that’s set to debut in 2018. The announcement also states that future Kings Gaming teams will utilize the facility, suggesting the organization plans to continue investing in esports.
“Using technology to engage with our fans and reach new audiences has always been core to our organization’s mission,” said Sacramento Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé. “Golden 1 Center is the most advanced arena for basketball, entertainment, and esports. This state-of-the-art facility will set a new standard and provide the best-in-class tools that the next generation of superstar gamers need to train, compete and win.”
According to the release, the new esports space will have state-of-the-art gaming technology with full-service broadcast capabilities to produce livestreams and content. It will also include amenities to serve gamers, artists, and the community. In order to enable lag-free gaming, the facility will be equipped with a network featuring 200 gbps and the first Tier 4 Data Center in sports.
Hosting live audiences
With esports content demand at an all-time high, the new venue will be capable of hosting theater-style audiences, with the ability to expand into Golden 1 Center’s premium clubs.
A direct feed into the arena’s bowl will also be possible, utilizing the NBA’s largest and only 4K Ultra HD video screen, VSP Skeye View. The screen features 360-degree immersive audio that should enhance any tournament experience.
A community driven league
The 2K League has received excellent feedback its basketball counterpart, with 17 professional franchises already signed up for competition.
As seen in the past, all successful esports endeavors have a major emphasis on the community surrounding a given game. This will also be the case in NBA’s 2K league, says Managing Director Brendan Donohue.
“2K knows who played the game, and they have incredible data on their customers, and the community in that respect,” Donohue said in an interview with The Esports Observer. “We know NBA fans are all across the globe. We see this as a great way to engage an NBA audience.”
When it comes to the NBA accepting the whole esports concept, Donohue says the answer is clear:
“What I would say is that there are currently millions of people around the world playing the NBA 2K game, and we’re going to get the best eighty five to play in this league. People love competition, and in particular elite competition. Watching the best in the world compete at the highest level in anything is extremely interesting. The reason we are confident is not blind-optimism. When we did our Road to All Star New Orleans, we had 500,000 competitors, and 100,000 teams competing in a tournament -the finals of those tournaments had two million views.”
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