Just a day after two NBA players tested positive for COVID-19 and the league announced it would suspend activities for at least thirty days, its esports arm followed suit. The NBA 2K League will postpone the start of its season, which was planned for March 24th. Of course, unlike the real game, esports can be played online and the league said in a statement that "in the coming weeks" it will hold preseason competitions remotely.
According to NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue, "We will continue to evaluate the situation and do everything possible to bring the excitement of the NBA 2K League to our fans through remote preseason exhibitions and other content. We look forward to sharing additional information about these exhibitions and the start of the 2020 season as it becomes available."
Of the major US sports, the NBA is the one with the most visible link to esports, with 2K League franchises tied to traditional basketball teams. As we all continue to deal with the effects of this outbreak, other esports like Overwatch League and Call of Duty have also suspended activities. For the NBA, if its games don't come back, remote competition could be another way to keep fans engaged, but it's very early to think about what's next.
Update: And it appears some teams are going to use the game just that way. The Phoenix Suns tweeted that despite the season being suspended, they plan to play season games on NBA 2K20, and streamed via Twitch, starting with a match tomorrow vs. the Dallas Mavericks.
NBA 2K League Postpones Start of 2020 Season pic.twitter.com/U2BC2bUqyF— NBA 2K League (@NBA2KLeague) March 12, 2020