The NBA 2K League yesterday recognized outstanding achievement in team marketing and business operations for the 2019 season when the league presented its NBA 2K League Team Business Awards during the NBA 2K League Fall Workshop in Indianapolis.
Magic Gaming received two awards – the Partnership of the Year Award and the Local Activation of the Year Award – while Raptors Uprising GC earned the Digital Innovator of the Year Award and Pacers Gaming won the Best Use of Streaming Award.
All 21 teams that competed during the 2019 season were invited to submit entries for each category, with the winners chosen by NBA 2K League executives and a Finalist Committee featuring a representative from each team.
“The NBA 2K League teams honored today represent the quality of innovation and partnership that we are used to seeing from our teams,” said NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue. “The best part about these awards is that they make all of our teams better and create a new pinnacle for them to strive for next season.”
Partnership of the Year
Magic Gaming won the Partnership of the Year Award for its fully-integrated partnership with Orlando Health. The team provided the ideal platform for the health care provider to further establish its position as a leader in health care for esports athletes. In becoming the Official Hospital Partner of Magic Gaming, Orlando Health connected with the local and national esports community through Magic Gaming and its highly-visible assets, including jersey patches and on-court signage, as well as community relations initiatives.
A key objective of the partnership was making a positive impact in the local community by building lasting relationships with both doctors and patients at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. Magic Gaming players served as brand ambassadors for Orlando Health, offering professional gaming advice to hospitalized children and regularly visiting with Orlando Health physicians focused on the health and wellness of professional esports athletes.
Magic Gaming and Orlando Health will team up later this month to upgrade the hospital’s main gaming room with a newer design and enhanced gaming system, in addition to providing customized gaming carts for children who are unable to leave their room.
Raptors Uprising GC was also a finalist for the Partnership of the Year Award for teaming up with Canadian telecommunications company Bell, which upgraded the technology at the team’s practice facility, turning Bell Fibe House into a state-of-the-art, high-speed facility.
Local Activation of the Year
Magic Gaming was also honored with the Local Activation of the Year Award for its association with Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla. The partnership helped promote Full Sail’s new esports-focused curriculum and launch “The Fortress” – the new state-of-the-art home of the Full Sail Armada, the university’s esports team.
An 11,000-square foot, 500-person capacity venue, “The Fortress” helped elevate the live NBA 2K League in-arena experience by creating an electric atmosphere for THE TICKET powered by AT&T when the arena hosted the NBA 2K League’s final regular-season tournament earlier this year.
Other key activations included live Q&A sessions with Magic Gaming players for Full Sail students to learn about the routines of professional esports athletes, and the creation of a content series where Magic Gaming players spoke about a variety of topics, including their favorite subjects in school.
Cavs Legion GC was recognized as a finalist for the award for its Steel City Showdown in Pittsburgh. The team – in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Knights, Point Park University, and the City of Pittsburgh Sport Commission – staged a first-of-its-kind esports tournament in downtown Pittsburgh at the new Point Park University Theater.
Digital Innovator of the Year
Raptors Uprising GC received the Digital Innovator of the Year Award for the consistently high quality of its content and digital fan engagement throughout 2019. The team created video and social content that was posted across its digital channels, enhancing the fan experience and creating a two-way conversation with followers, most notably through the video content series “6ixtape.”
Instead of releasing traditional post-game highlights, the team created a season-long series of 6ixtape highlight reels featuring soundtracks from Toronto hip-hop artists, culminating in a VIP party and concert for fans. Raptors Uprising GC content in 2019 also featured innovative collaborations with other esports teams and influencers including FaZe Clan and Agent 00.
2019 NBA 2K League Champions T-Wolves Gaming was another finalist for the award. As an expansion team this past season, T-Wolves Gaming leveraged key tentpole moments to create awareness for its brand and to build an engaged community. Often using creative nods to retro 8-bit video games, the team used moments such as the revealing of its logo, jersey and court to build an audience.
Best Use of Streaming
Pacers Gaming was presented with the Best Use of Streaming Award for its use of Twitch to create an engaged community of fans and develop a bond between the team’s fans and players. Regularly scheduled programming with players as part of the Pacers Gaming Primetime series saw consistent viewership growth throughout the year, allowing the team to grow its fanbase and create new sponsorship opportunities.
Raptors Uprising GC was also a finalist for the Best Use of Streaming Award for integrating esports influencers and players into its regular Twitch streams.