NBL Becomes First Australian Professional Team to Join a Global Esports League, Third NBA 2K League Team from Outside of North America
The NBA 2K League and Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) announced a landmark agreement that will see the NBL launch an NBA 2K League expansion team, NBL Oz Gaming, representing Australia. This marks the first time an Australian professional team has joined a global esports league on a permanent basis.
The NBA 2K League tipped off its inaugural season in May 2018, with 17 teams, each affiliated with an NBA team. With the addition of NBL Oz Gaming, the NBA 2K League has now expanded to 25 teams, 22 of which are affiliated with NBA teams, including 2022 Champions Pistons GT (3v3) and Bucks Gaming (5v5). NBL Oz Gaming becomes the third expansion team from outside of North America following the addition of the Gen.G Tigers representing Shanghai, and DUX Infinitos representing Mexico City, in 2021 and 2022, respectively, and will make its debut when the NBA 2K League’s sixth season tips off in spring 2023. Together, the NBL and the NBA 2K League will collaborate to grow the NBA 2K League’s presence in Australia through talent identification, joint marketing efforts and grassroots events. NBL Oz Gaming will be based in the U.S. during the 2023 season, with the team’s location still to be announced.
“This is another historic day as we welcome Australia’s premier basketball league to the NBA 2K League family,” said NBA 2K League President Brendan Donohue. “The NBL has a demonstrated track record of not only transforming their league, but also growing a fanbase in new and creative ways. The NBL is the ideal partner to help the NBA 2K League do the same in Australia, where basketball and 2K are incredibly popular and we’re thrilled that NBL Oz Gaming will represent Australia in the NBA 2K League for years to come.”
“We have been intrigued by the esports sector now for some time, largely because there is a significant crossover between gaming fans and basketball fans – more so than any other sport,” NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said. “We always want to partner with the best, and one of the best professional esports leagues in the world is operated by our long-standing friends and partners at the NBA. The global popularity of NBA 2K and the NBA 2K League continue to grow every year, and neither is showing any signs of slowing down. Our hopes and expectations are that NBL Oz Gaming will introduce the NBL to a legion of new fans around the world. But first, we have to turn our attention to building a strong and competitive roster and showing once again that the NBL can take on the best in the world. This time, it just happens to be a slightly different game!”
The 2023 NBA 2K League season will livestream in Australia on Twitch and YouTube. Over the NBA 2K League’s first five seasons, the league has conducted international qualifying events in Hong Kong, Seoul, and remotely for top players from the Asia-Pacific region. Jack “Jaacko” Stevenson (New Zealand) was selected 50th overall in the 2019 NBA 2K League Draft and Meason “xMiLo—” Camille (Australia) was selected 62nd overall in the 2021 NBA 2K League Draft.
NBA 2K22 was in the Top-3 best-selling console games in Australia (#3) and New Zealand (#2) in 2021*.
The NBL has established itself as Australia’s fastest growing sports league and one of top basketball leagues in the world outside of the NBA. Over the past few seasons, the league has seen record attendance, broadcast audiences and social media engagement, and has become a destination for top players from around the world, most notably through the NBL Next Stars program. Through the growth of the NBL, the success of Australia’s national teams and the impact that Australian players are having in top basketball leagues around the world, basketball is now the fastest-growing sport in Australia.
NBL Oz Gaming will participate in the NBA 2K League Expansion Draft on Saturday, Nov. 5 (Eastern Time).
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