Four weeks of the inaugural NBA 2K League season are in the books, and the first in-season tournament is coming up this weekend. There have been downsides. Many have questioned the league due to its low viewership numbers on Twitch and for the continued projection of its players’ lack of superiority. But there have also been upsides. Numerous teams have secured impressive corporate partnerships and branding, and games have been competitive and fraught with excitement. Let’s take a look back at The Tipoff and the first four weeks of the regular season, as well as look ahead to the first in-season tournament (“The Turn”).
The nearly weeklong tournament saw 76ersGC claim the first banner (a third of the Tréfecta) in league history. A successful atmosphere prevailed throughout, as the new studio and large-scale production, both in-house and on Twitch, impressed viewers throughout the week. Disappointingly for the league, viewership fell from a peak of over 15,000 concurrent viewers on day one, settling at around 7,000 per game. Arguably the star of the tournament was CavsLegionGC’s Hood, who found himself on SportsCenter and compared (statistically) to LeBron after notching two forty-point games in his team’s winning of Group A.
Blazer5 Gaming carried group 3 with a 3-0 record, falling only to group mate 76ersGC 75-65 in the tournament final. Group D, touted as the group of death, saw phenomenal games by first-overall pick Dimez, of Mavs Gaming, and second selection Fab, but only the former (along with Pacers Gaming) made it out of the group. 76ersGC first-round pick, PG Radiant, won tournament MVP honors.
Regular Season Weeks 1-4
Perhaps foreshadowed by their strong play in The Tipoff, Blazer5 Gaming remains the only undefeated team in the league at 4-0. Many teams have played doubleheaders; the Raptors have twice played doubleheaders, and have lost all four games, but other than that doubleheaders seem to be beneficial if anything. The competitiveness and closeness of games that made The Tipoff so entertaining hardly receded. Each week of the regular season seemed to have a new classic.
Week 1 had Celtics Crossover Gaming topping Wizards District Gaming 79-78; WDG turned around in week 2 and eked out a 63-62 win over Pacers Gaming; they again fell in heartbreaking fashion in week 3, where 76ersGC won 60-59. Week four had many great games, including Mavs Gaming’s late lunge to sweep past Jazz Gaming, as well as Blazer5 Gaming’s game-tying buzzer beater and subsequent overtime defeat of Raptors Uprising GC. Competing with Raptors Uprising (1-5) at the bottom of the standing is the league’s sole winless team, Pacers Gaming (0-4). The two will play a play-in game for the right to face one-seed Blazer5 Gaming in…
The first in-season tournament of the season, the pursuit of the second of three pieces in the Tréfecta banner chain, takes place this week. Unlike The Tipoff, it’s a single-elimination tournament spanning two days. Be sure to watch the viewership, which topped over 10,000 on both days last week for the first time since The Tipoff. A few storylines to watch: Magic Gaming, written off by so many after losing all three The Tipoff games and two straight to begin the regular season, have won three straight since the insertion of KingCamRoyalty into their starting lineup. On the other side of the bracket, reigning tournament champions 76ersGC will have to run a gauntlet that will likely involve facing one of Dimez, Fab, or Compete — before a potential finals rematch against a Blazer5 Gaming squad looking for revenge.
So it’s been a solid first quarter for the NBA 2K League. With views beginning to climb again, and likely to climb even higher with the end of the NBA Finals, the league is in a very solid place. It’s only four weeks and one tournament in. It may not be the league’s time right now, as their ad campaign goes — but their time is certainly coming.