The NBA 2K League has announced that global esports organization Gen.G Esports will launch a new team in Shanghai, China for the league’s 2020 season.
Gen.G’s Shanghai franchise will be the 23rd to join the NBA 2K League, joining Charlotte Hornets affiliate Hornets Venom GT in debuting in the 2020 season.
It will also be the first NBA 2K League team that is not affiliated with an NBA team, as well as the first to be launched outside of North America. The team will train at its Los Angeles HQ during the 2020 season.
For Gen.G, the Shanghai NBA 2K League team is its second esports franchise — the first being the Seoul Dynasty of the Overwatch League.
The Shanghai franchise will be the centerpiece of a long-term strategic relationship between the NBA 2K League and Gen.G. The partnership aims to grow the league’s global player pool and fanbase, specifically in Asia. Both parties will work on player development and talent identification, brand development, and worldwide esports and gaming programming as part of the deal.
“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,” said NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue in a statement.
“Gen.G is the ideal organization to launch our first team from outside of North America, and we look forward to working with Gen.G to reach new fans in Shanghai and identify elite talent across Asia.”
Gen.G Esports CEO Chris Park also expressed enthusiasm in becoming the NBA 2K League’s ambassadors in the Asian gaming community.
“We are honored to help lead the NBA 2K League’s expansion into Asia and proud to represent Shanghai on behalf of the hundreds of millions of Chinese fans who love basketball and video games,” Park said.
He added that “ambitious ventures like [connecting esports fans and athletes across the U.S. and Asia]” fits right into Gen.G’s “unique core mission.”
While additional details about the Gen.G’s Shanghai team have yet to be released, it is already slated to participate in the NBA 2K League’s Expansion Draft Lottery on October 4.