The NBA 2K League announced that four NBA franchises—the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, and Brooklyn Nets—will enter the league as expansion teams for its second season.
After months of speculation from fans, the league released the announcement the week after the conclusion of its regular season. The four will increase the number of teams in the league to 21. The joint NBA/Take-Two Interactive venture was originally announced in early 2017, with the full support of NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
The buy-in fee for teams was reported to be $750,000, but the cost of housing, transporting, and paying players will increase that number quickly. Still, it makes sense for rejuvenated Lakers and Timberwolves teams, as well as for the rebuilding Hawks and Nets, who may be closer to winning an NBA 2K League title than an NBA championship.
Its inaugural season has shown slow-but-steady growth. Per the NBA, the league has had over 132 million video starts across its social media platforms and the league and its teams have a combined 1.6 million followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The 17 teams in the league have struck over 90 total partnership deals, while the league itself has several notable partnerships of its own, including, for example, ones with Twitch and Scuf Gaming.
“Welcoming these four world-class organizations and their passionate fanbases to the NBA 2K League is an exciting moment not only for the league, but for the entire 2K community,” said NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue. “From their innovative spirit to their global reach, we know each of these teams will be a tremendous addition, and we are thrilled that this growth offers the opportunity for new players, coaches and support staff to join the league.”
The NBA 2K League quarterfinals will take place on Friday, August 17 in a single-elimination format, while the best-of-three semifinals will take place on August 18. Two teams will compete in the best-of-three NBA 2K League Finals on Saturday, August 25.