Monumental Sports and Entertainment has partnered with regional sports network NBC Sports Washington to broadcast esports simulations of previously-scheduled Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards games, using NHL 20 and NBA 2K20, respectively.
Monumental is the ownership group of the National Hockey League’s Capitals, the National Basketball Association’s Wizards, and Capital One Arena.
The esports games will align with the Capitals and Wizards’ remaining regular-season fixtures in the 2019-20 campaign, including opponents and dates. They will be aired on NBC Sports Washington and direct-to-consumer platform Monumental Sports Network and include commentary and analysis from the RSN’s announcers and experts.
The Wizards simulations will begin on March 21 at 7pm Eastern Time with a clash with the Milwaukee Bucks, while the Capitals’ esports schedule starts with a game against the St. Louis Blues on March 24.
Esports, which can be competed remotely, has taken on a sharply increased importance during the sports industry hiatus created by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as broadcasters look to fill their schedules. Both the NBA and NHL are among many sports properties who are on an indefinite suspension due to the ongoing health crisis.
“We know that fans are as disappointed as we are not to be able to watch our favorite teams on a nightly basis. We hope that these fun and engaging video game simulations will entertain our fans and help provide a greater sense of normalcy during these challenging times,” said Zach Leonsis, senior vice-president of strategic initiatives at Monumental, and general manager of Monumental Sports Network. “We hope that when people tune in and watch these simulated games, they will be able to enjoy some friendly competitive play from the comforts of their own home.”
NBC Sports Washington vice-president and general manager Damon Phillips added: “We hope this content gives fans a welcome outlet for their passion and interest in the Capitals and Wizards. If the video game version of Bradley Beal and Alex Ovechkin live up to their real-life counterparts, fans should be in for a fun experience.”
Elsewhere, US stock car racing series Nascar has reached an agreement with domestic broadcast partner Fox Sports to air its new esports competition, the eNascar iRacing Pro Invitational Series, that will involve actual Nascar drivers.