High schoolers who are deep into the NBA 2K scene will soon have another way to compete. Publisher 2K has teamed up with PlayVS to bring the franchise to high school varsity esports leagues in the US and Canada.
Under the exclusive, long-term deal, PlayVS will add NBA 2K to its lineup in the spring, with players facing off in online matches for a championship. Schools interested in starting up their own esports program with PlayVS can visit the platform's website to get started.
NBA 2K will be one of the few esports in the PlayVS lineup that are played solo. All matches will be one-on-one and play out over five-minute quarters. Regular season matches will be in a best-of-three format while finals will be best of five. Players can't pick All-Time or Historic teams — they can only select a current NBA team.
"Bringing NBA 2K, one of the most highly demanded titles among our player base, to high schools across the country is a monumental opportunity in scholastic esports,” PlayVS founder and CEO Delane Parnell said in a statement. “Since the founding of PlayVS, it has been our vision to grow esports opportunities at the high school level in close collaboration with leading game publishers and this new alliance with 2K is no exception."
PlayVS said bringing NBA 2K into the fold will enable more players to get involved in scholastic esports, which it claims have helped improve attendance, grades and graduation rates. Additionally, it suggested the 2K partnership should help to create more pathways for budding esports stars to progress and compete at collegiate and professional levels, perhaps with the help of scholarships.
The platform has deals with other major publishers to run high school esports leagues for their games. Through PlayVS’ partnerships with Nintendo, Riot Games, Activision Blizzard, EA and Psyonix, high schoolers can compete in scholastic esports in titles including Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Madden NFL 22 and Rocket League.