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An exciting new eSports tournament has been revealed for talented NBA 2K players to get their teeth stuck into. Video game developer 2K Games has joined forces with event organizers ESL, NBA and NBPA to form a new championship series that will see eSports stars compete in a string of events staged online and offline.

Forget the likely contenders for the real 2020 NBA Championship, the NBA 2K20 Global Championship is now where it’s at for basketball fans from around the world, not just inside North America. Jason Argent, senior vice president of basketball operations for 2K Sports, said that this “first-of-its-kind” event was an opportunity for NBA 2K gamers to “test how their skills match up on a global scale”.

Regional finals to be hosted in the US, France, and Australia

Events for the NBA 2K20 Global Championship will begin this month. Regional finals are due to be staged at the ESL studios in LA, as well as in Paris and Sydney. Each regional winner will bag a cool $15,000, along with additional prizes and benefits from 2K Games and the NBA organization. The overall final for all regional winners is scheduled to take place in the U.S. on February 22nd, with the overall winner bagging $145,000.

Interest in NBA eSports has been ramped up ever since the formation of the NBA 2K League in February 2017. The inaugural 2018 eSports season saw 17 of the 30 NBA franchises having their own eSports representatives. T-Wolves Gaming, representing the Minnesota Timberwolves, took the inaugural 2018 crown. Professional NBA eSports has rapidly become big business, with all first-round draft picks being paid a basic salary of $35,000 and all others being paid $32,000—and that’s before individual players can sign additional agreements for sponsorships and endorsements.

The NBA 2K League is going global

During the course of its entire first campaign, the NBA 2K League dished out upwards of $1 million in prize money. The global success and interest in the league have also seen the league’s organizers branch out beyond the confines of NBA teams to accept a new Shanghai team into the league. The currently unnamed team will be led by Gen.G, a multi-eSports organization that already operates teams in a string of eSports games such as Fortnite, League of Legends, and Overwatch.

Given that China is the second-biggest market for the NBA on the planet, a Shanghai NBA 2K League team makes a lot of sense. It’s also hoped that the new NBA 2K20 Global Championship will also give amateur players in China and other regions a chance to impress, not just those living in North America.