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腾讯引NBA 2K联赛入华,中国球队征战联赛或已不远

Lisa Marie Segarra 2019年08月06日

考虑到电竞在中国的风靡,将2K联赛推广到中国也是一个自然而然的选择。

从外面看去,NBA 2K电竞联赛的工作室仿佛只是长岛市的一个不起眼的仓库,既没有明显的标志,也没有华丽的装修。而走进工作室,从室内的大屏幕上却能够看见很多人,玩家们围成了一个圈,眼睛紧盯着电脑的显示器。球迷们则在为2K联赛里自己最喜欢的队伍加油鼓劲——这便是NBA 2K电竞联赛的现场了。

如果你对电竞不感兴趣,看着那一看台的球迷,和红蓝相间的墙壁,你可能完全进入不了氛围。只有你真正沉浸在激动人心的比赛甚至是那些脱口而出的脏话中,你才能够真正体验到电竞的魅力。

而很快,中国的NBA和电竞迷们就会体验到这种感受了。

NBA 2K电竞联赛在7月下旬宣布,它将进军作为全球最大的电竞市场之一的中国。NBA 2K的中国合作伙伴,正是中国游戏业的巨头腾讯。

腾讯已经获得了NBA比赛的转播权,很快,它也将获得授权转播NBA 2K的赛事。NBA 2K电竞联赛的所有权由NBA和《NBA 2K》游戏的发行商TakeTwo公司共同拥有。

NBA 2K联赛已经做好赢得中国观众青睐的准备了,因为这款游戏早已吸引了很多中国游戏玩家的兴趣。NBA 2K联赛的总经理布兰登·多诺霍对《财富》杂志表示:“在中国,玩家玩这款游戏最常见的方式是玩2K online,也就是这款游戏的一个免费版本。到目前为止,我们还没有办法与那些玩家进行互动。但通过与腾讯的合作,我们得以接触到这部分玩家,并且在本赛季进行一些测试,以后再做更多的事情。”

考虑到电竞在中国的风靡,将2K联赛推广到中国也是一个自然而然的选择。根据IHS Markit公司2017年的一份报告显示,中国已经成为全球最大的电子竞技市场,去年有57%的电竞比赛在中国举行。就在2K online流行的同时,中国人对篮球这项运动的热情也越来越高,加之中国人对电竞的巨大兴趣,多诺霍认为,NBA 2K联赛入华后,联赛的收视率必将迎来大幅增长。

不过,NBA 2K联赛想做的,并不仅仅是在中国转播自己的比赛。目前,NBA 2K联赛的所有球队都与传统NBA的球队有关联,不过NBA 2K联赛的玩家都是以自己的虚拟形象出现在游戏里的,而并非是NBA球员的形象。比如,波特兰开拓者队在NBA 2K联赛中的队伍是Blazer5 Gaming队,但是球队里并没有一个人的球风跟开拓者队的控卫达米安·利拉德一样。

多诺霍表示,随着联赛的扩展,中国是一个他们很希望进入的市场。至于非NBA的参赛球队如何设计和命名,目前联赛尚未确定,不过2K联赛是很愿意接纳新球队的。

多诺霍表示,他们想继续在中国寻找潜在的电竞运动员。通过游戏和线下活动吸引爱好者,最终在中国建立本土参赛队伍。“这是一个庞大战略的一部分。”

“我们正在与一些对加入联赛感兴趣、但又不是NBA老板的人进行积极对话。现在谈论时间表可能还为时过早,但我们知道,在不久的将来,联赛中会出现NBA以外的球队。”

早在联手腾讯之前,多诺霍就设想过在中国举办NBA 2K联赛的活动。本赛季,NBA 2K联赛就曾经在香港举办过一场资格邀请赛,以更好地吸引美国以外的电竞人才。

多诺霍表示:“我们认为,这对于加大联赛在该地区的曝光率是一次很好的试验。”

随着NBA 2K联赛的长岛市工作室日益火爆,看台区似乎已经挤不下越来越多的球迷了,搬家对于联赛总部来说貌似是一个最好的选择。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

From the outside, the NBA 2K League studio looks like an unassuming warehouse in Long Island City. There’s no big signage or pomp. But inside there are screens above the crowds, the players are in a circle focusing on their monitors, and fans are cheering for their favorite teams in the 2K League, the e-sports competition scene for the NBA 2K video game.

For those not interested in e-sports, it can be hard to grasp the atmosphere, with its bleachers of fans and the decked out red and blue walls, until you’re actually immersed in its excitement and light trash talking.

But soon that experience will open up to even more people.

The NBA 2K League announced in late July that it is coming to China, one of the world’s largest e-sports markets, and it’s doing so with the help of Tencent, a massive Chinese conglomerate and a leader in gaming.

Tencent already broadcasts NBA games, and similar to its deal with the league, it will begin showing 2K League events, too. The NBA 2K League is owned by the NBA and NBA 2K maker TakeTwo.

The 2K League is poised to score points with Chinese viewers, because there’s already interest from gamers there. “In China, the more common way for players to engage in the game is actually 2K online, which is a free version of the game,” Brendan Donohue, managing director of the 2K League tells Fortune. “Up until this point, we haven’t been able to engage that audience. This deal, by partnering with Tencent, it allows us to unlock that audience and test that this season before doing more in the future.”

Expanding 2K League to China also a natural move, considering the popularity of e-sports there. According to a 2017 report by IHS Markit, China is the largest global market for e-sports, streaming 57% of all matches last year. Between the popularity of 2K Online, growing Chinese interest in traditional basketball, and the massive appetite for e-sports, Donohue expects viewership for the league to see a substantial increase.

But the league is looking to do more than merely show its games in China. Currently, all of the 2K League teams are linked to ones in the traditional NBA, but 2K League players appear as digital avatars of themselves, and not as NBA players. For example, the Portland Trail Blazers’ counterpart is Blazer5 Gaming, but no one plays as the NBA team’s point guard Damian Lillard.

Donohue sees the league expanding, and China is one place they’re looking to move into. How the non-NBA teams will be named or styled is still undecided, but the 2K League is willing to make the expansion happen.

“This is part of a much broader strategy here,” Donohue said explaining that they want to continue finding potential e-sports players in China, reaching fans there through game streaming and live events, and eventually setting up Chinese-based teams.

“We are having active conversations with people who are interested in joining the league that are not NBA owners. It might too early to talk about a timeline, but we know in the near future there’s going to be teams outside of NBA-owned teams in the league,” Donohue said.

Even before that, Donohue envisions the NBA 2K League putting on events in China. For the current season, the league hosted an invitational qualifying event in Hong Kong in order to better attract non-U.S.-based talent.

“We think this is a great test for us to start to expose the league to the region,” Donohue noted.

As the 2K League’s Long Island City studio gets more popular, and the bleachers start to overflow with fans, moving seems like the best option.

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