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EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of NBA 2K League President Brendan Donohue.

The National Basketball Association (NBA), EventsDC, and Monumental Sports upped the ante on showcasing eSports with the launch of the “NBA 2K League 3v3 Tournament.” Hosted at District E, the new venue that boasts an eSports experience for gamers and fans, just steps away from Capital One Arena, the NBA 2K League 3v3 Tournament  

The NBA 2K series is one of the most popular games in eSports. Some years ago, the NBA realized that merely a fraction of its 1.6 billion-person global fan base would ultimately access an arena for the full NBA experience. With 30 million NBA 2K video-game downloads per year, the NBA quickly realized that a joint venture with the 2K video-game series was in order. In 2018, the NBA 2K League (League) commenced and 17 teams, representing cities in existing NBA markets, competed for an inaugural championship and cash prize.

The League

Today, the League features 25 teams, with non-NBA market teams in Australia, Mexico City and Shanghai. This past weekend, the District had the privilege of hosting the NBA 2K League 3v3 Tournament, with 14 teams and a prize pool of $600,000.

“We did an extensive RFP (request for proposals) to decide where we wanted to make our home, and D.C. did a great job,” said NBA 2K League President Brendan Donohue. 

Events DC, now led by Angie Gates, former director of the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment (OCTFME), is a powerhouse in attracting entertainment to the District. Holding themselves out as “the premier host of conventions, entertainment, sporting and cultural events in the nation’s capital,” Events DC evinces tremendous foresight with the adoption of eSporting events like the NBA 2K League. 

Capital of eSports

The popularity of eSports has grown tremendously since the pandemic, leading the District to another prospective boon for tourism.

 “Frankly, COVID was gasoline on the fire in terms of the amount of gaming that was going on,” Donohue shared. “D.C. is very convenient for a lot of our teams here on the East Coast. I mean, we have this brand new state-of-the-art facility and they were announcing us a week later,” he elaborated.

The League and the city can share in this excitement. Between the tax revenue, to the 70-person crew working on the production of the event, to the players, and the fans, who may travel from other markets to attend these events, being the capital of eSports could have a tremendous impact on the District. 

Growth and Jobs

Moreover, there are workforce development opportunities for District residents within the industry. While many children now dream of being professional YouTubers and streamers, there are many jobs emerging in this rapidly growing industry. Accordingly, the NBA 2K League hosted youth from the DC Boys & Girls Club of America as well as young people from the Department of Employment Service’s Youth Services programming.

Because eSports are a relatively new branch of the sports industry, there are many ways for District residents to obtain jobs.

 “Yes, there are six players competing on that stage, which is awesome, but there are another 70 people working on this event tonight. That’s the broadcast team or people creating content, social media, and selling sponsorships,” Donohue explained.

Inspired by the visionary leadership of Gates, Donohue, and Zach Leonsis of Monumental Sports, the District has an incredible new venue to bolster our national visibility, create jobs, and for all to enjoy the game of basketball. 

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