NBA 2K League to feature $1-million prize pool for inaugural season

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick (NBA, Take-Two Interactive)

The NBA 2K League will feature a US$1-million prize pool that it will distribute over the course of the season with the largest chunk of change going to the end-of-season champions, the league announced Friday.

Players will be given four opportunities to win some of that prize money through three tournaments that will play throughout the upcoming season and the league championship itself.

Additionally, the league also revealed more details on base player compensation.

All 102 players who make the league will be signed to a six-month contract with first-round selections making $35,000 and every other player making $32,000.

Players will also receive a particular league compensation package and benefits that include medical insurance, a retirement plan and paid housing, food and travel expenses.

On top of this, the league says players can sign endorsement deals to earn additional income provided the deal follows league guidelines.

Contracts will begin to be signed in March.

In the meantime, the league’s second phase of try-outs, the NBA 2K League Combine, keeps motoring on.

According to Brendan Donohue, the NBA 2K League’s managing director, 72,000 players advanced from January’s open try-out phase, an extraordinary number, particularly because that has to be pared down to 102 players.

So how does the league plan on doing this?

“The league has a great partner in 2K [Games], and they are dedicated to capturing comprehensive data and statistics throughout the combine,” Donohue told Sportsnet through email correspondence. “This includes both high-level stats such as points and assists as well as in-depth stats such as shot release time and block efficiency.

“We are focused on drafting the best 102 players in the world and will evaluate these data points as well as qualitative information gathered during the combine.”

The combine is well under way with four of the 12 evaluation windows having already come and gone. The next window will be Friday night at 8:00 p.m. ET to midnight.

Prospective 2K League pros must play a minimum of 40 games during the entire span of the combine, but playing more will likely glean greater data for evaluators to make a better decision.

The NBA 2K League, according to Donohue, is still on track for a May launch.

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