Twitch becomes first rights partner for NBA 2K League

Social video platform Twitch has enhanced its ties to North American basketball league the NBA by agreeing to become its first media rights partner for esports competition the NBA 2K League.

The multi-year deal will see Twitch become the official live streaming partner of the NBA 2K League, providing fans around the world with live streams of up to 199 games throughout the season, including weekly matchups, three in-season tournaments, playoffs and the NBA 2K League Finals. 

The live streams will include various talent providing live commentary, analysis and additional league updates. All NBA 2K League games will be available live on Twitch at twitch.tv/nba2kleague.  Following each live broadcast, games will be available for fans to view on demand.

Twitch will work closely with the league to build innovative extensions, such as interactive custom overlays, in order to provide new fan engagement opportunities that further enhance the live game viewing experience. Along with presenting live games, Twitch will serve as a founding partner of the NBA 2K League.

The partnership is the second in recent months between Twitch and an NBA-affiliated league. In December, the NBA G League, the NBA’s official developmental competition, began streaming up to six live games each week on Twitch, marking the first time a major sports league had tapped into several technological innovations unique to Twitch.

Commenting on the latest agreement, Justin Dellario, head of esports programs for Twitch, said: “From video games to real games, the NBA continues to innovate around basketball when it comes to engaging with the Twitch community.

“By partnering with Twitch for the NBA 2K League, that pioneering spirit will continue to be reflected when we elevate this latest entry to the world of competitive gaming with interactive features and our global stage.”

The NBA 2K League represents the first official esports league operated by a professional sports league in the US. The league debuts on May 1 and features the best 102 NBA 2K players in the world.

Seventeen NBA teams are set to compete in the new league: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards.

Most recent

Pay-television broadcaster BT Sport took advantage of Sky’s long-running concerns over wrestling body WWE’s OTT service to grab WWE rights in the UK and Ireland from its rival at a steep discount, SportBusiness Media understands.

As TikTok has grown into one of the world's most popular social-media apps during the past year, the short-form video-sharing platform has become an important tool for sports rights-holders to expand and engage their fanbases. 

Turkish agency Saran has negotiated a price reduction for rights to the English Premier League for the 2019-22 cycle, SportBusiness Media understands, the first time it has achieved this since acquiring the property at the turn of the decade.

Mola TV, the new entrant to Indonesia’s sports broadcasting market, is employing a novel strategy straddling pay-television, free-to-air and digital distribution channels to exploit the Premier League rights it has acquired for the upcoming 2019-22 cycle.