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Weeks of speculation from NBA 2K League fans about a second expansion team to join the league in 2020 were answered Thursday when the league announced Gen.G would be home to the league’s Shanghai team. The announcement makes Gen.G the 23rd franchise in the NBA 2K League heading into the 2020 season. Gen.G joins Hornets Venom GT as 2020 expansion teams.
The inclusion of Gen.G gives the NBA 2K League its first franchise outside of North America. The expansion into Asia follows the strategic plan of both the NBA and NBA 2K League. The expansion goal of the North American basketball league is to become a stronger global brand. For the NBA, this means playing games outside of North America and entertaining the idea of Asian and European franchises. Before today, rumors around the NBA 2K League believed that a franchise in both Shanghai and London could have been a possibility.
Gen.G and Hornets Venom GT will pick the future faces of their respective franchises in the NBA 2K League Expansion Draft on Friday, Oct. 4. The Expansion Draft was originally to be held in late September. No official date was given after the league was waiting for confirmation from future expansion franchises. After today’s release, the league also solidified the date of the expansion draft. On Oct. 4, the two new franchises will select two players each from the expansion player pool.
— NBA 2K League (@NBA2KLeague) September 27, 2019
Gen.G has become a household name among esports fans over the last few years. The esports giant has teams competing in top-tier leagues for League of Legends, Overwatch, Call of Duty, and more. Gen.G carries 12 teams across all esports, winning five championships. The organization ranked seventh by Forbes for top esports organizations. The Shanghai-based esports organization has three main headquarters and will practice out of its Los Angeles home base.
In the official NBA 2K League release, Gen.G’s CEO, Chris Park, provided the organization’s vision into the league: “Gen.G’s unique core mission — to connect esports fans and athletes across the U.S. and Asia — is meant for ambitious ventures like this. We have big plans to help grow the NBA 2K League in communities around the world that are passionate about basketball and video games.”
Gen.G opens a door for the NBA 2K League to begin looking for more franchises outside of the NBA. Current NBA teams have voiced opposition to joining the league. This left the NBA 2K League in a struggle for potential growth. The NBA 2K League may begin looking towards franchising options similar to that of the Overwatch League and Call of Duty World League.
NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue offered a glimpse into the league’s future: “This is a historic moment in the NBA 2K League’s journey to becoming a truly global league with fans, franchises and players from all over the world.”
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