(Yicai Global) Feb. 13 -- The US-based National Basketball Association plans next year to launch an NBA video-gaming league, a platform for top basketball video-game players around the world, in partnership with game developer Take-Two Interactive.
Given the NBA's global influence, skill will not be an obstacle for the NBA 2k eLeague to attract Chinese fans, said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
The NBA has chosen Tencent Holdings Ltd. [HKG:0700] as its Chinese partner, so it will be an easy task to promote the league in China. Last year, the NBA licensed Tencent to host the first NBA 2k eLeague series in China, and the event was broadcast live on the internet.
"Tencent paid a lot to get the copyright for the cooperation with the NBA, and the investment can be recouped most efficiently and effectively through the games," senior sports observer Gong Hua told Yicai Global.
"Video games offer a channel to reach out to youth, and can generate revenues by themselves," he said. "Many organizations are considering entering the gaming market. The International Olympic Committee is planning to include video games as an event. But copyright can be a problem for gaming leagues in China, and this is one of the reasons that FIFA games are not popular in the Chinese market."
Similarly, according to Wang Zhenyu, executive chairman of the China Sports and Health Industry Research Center, "Video games are very popular among young people, which is particularly the case in China. Many basketball-playing college students play video games." Wang is the organizer of the Chinese basketball U League joined by 300 Chinese universities.
"Someone who's a good basketball player may not necessarily be good at playing video games," said an amateur basketball and video game player. "Playing basketball is very different from playing games in terms of both skills and psychology."