Hornets Sports & Entertainment To Launch Team In The NBA 2K League In 2020

CHARLOTTE, NC — Hornets Sports & Entertainment announced Wednesday that it will own and operate an esports team affiliate that will join the NBA 2K League in 2020.

The NBA 2K League, a professional esports league co-founded by the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO), launched in 2018 and features the best NBA 2K players in the world. Charlotte becomes the 22nd franchise in the NBA 2K League, which is the first official esports league operated by a U.S. professional league.

“Hornets Sports & Entertainment is thrilled to bring the next professional sports league franchise to Charlotte,” said Hornets President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield. “The popularity and growth of esports both in the U.S. and internationally continues to rise at a tremendous rate. Our NBA 2K League affiliate will provide us with another opportunity to extend the HSE brand and reach a highly-coveted, as well as hard-to-reach, younger demographic of fans. We look forward to joining the NBA 2K League in 2020 and bringing exciting, fast-paced and entertaining esports action to the fans of Charlotte.”

“We are excited to welcome Charlotte to the NBA 2K League as the first expansion team for our third season,” said NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue. “With North Carolina’s rich basketball history and the Hornets organization’s commitment to innovation and fan engagement, we know they will be a great addition to the NBA 2K League family.”

Each NBA 2K League team features six players who compete as unique characters in 5-on-5 play against the league’s other teams in a mix of regular-season games, tournaments and playoffs. The NBA 2K League’s 18-week second season began Tuesday, April 2, with THE TIPOFF powered by AT&T and culminates with the NBA 2K League Playoffs and Finals (Aug. 3). All regular-season games will take place at the NBA 2K League Studio Powered by Intel in Long Island City, New York, and will be livestreamed on the league’s Twitch channel.

The Hornets affiliate’s name, logo and wordmarks will be announced in the upcoming months. Fans can click HERE for more information and to register to receive future announcements.

In 2019, the global esports market will exceed $1 billion in revenue for the first time, which is a year-on-year growth of 26.7% (Newzoo, 2019). The global esports audience will grow to 450+ million worldwide in 2019 and is expected to reach 557 million by 2021. NBA 2K is currently the highest-rated and best-selling sports title of the current console generation among U.S. sports leagues. NBA 2K18 sold approximately 10 million copies worldwide and was the best-selling edition in franchise history. In 2017, NBA 2K18 was the top-selling sports video game in the U.S. and second best-selling overall (behind FIFA). There are 1.6 million daily active users and 5 million monthly users.

For more information, fans can follow the NBA 2K League on Twitter (NBA2KLeague), Instagram (nba2kleague) and Facebook (NBA 2K League) and visit NBA2KLeague.com.