FIBA and Basketball Australia are thrilled to be joining the esports movement together with other National member Federations as part of this pilot project.
To support its move into esports, Basketball Australia has partnered with ESL, the world’s largest esports company, for consultation and assistance with assembling some of the country’s best esports athletes to represent Australia in an inaugural series of online exhibition basketball games to take place from June 19 to 21, 2020.
Other national teams participating include Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cyprus, Indonesia, Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine.
Each team will consist of seven players, five on the court and two reserves. Games will be played remotely on NBA 2K using the Pro-AM mode and allowing full customization of player avatars, uniforms and arena designs.
The entire FIBA Esports Open 2020 series will be produced from the brand-new FIBA Esports Studio located in Riga, Latvia, with a daily four-hour show featuring up to six games. Each game will be live-streamed on FIBA's Facebook, Twitch and YouTube channels with live commentary in English.
"FIBA is extremely proud and excited to start its Esports journey with the FIBA Esports Open 2020, a pilot project of exhibition games between national teams in collaboration with NBA 2K," said Frank Leenders, FIBA Media and Marketing Services Director General. "The esports initiative was identified by the FIBA Central Board as important and consistent with the strategic objective to Enlarge the FIBA Family. In these challenging times, we feel encouraged by the enthusiasm of some of our National Federations who are already active in this space and have been our charter partners during the last few months."
"NBA 2K is honoured to partner with FIBA in creating the FIBA Esports Open 2020, " stated Jason Argent, Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations at 2K. "Through these matches, we’re excited to be able to celebrate the global appeal of basketball."
“We are excited to partner with FIBA to be able to provide the Australian basketball community with a new avenue for engaging with the game they love,” says Jerril Rechter, CEO of Basketball Australia. “The surge in popularity of esports and the increasing number of Australians who are participating in basketball on virtual courts through games like NBA 2K provide Basketball Australia with a meaningful opportunity for continuing to grow the profile of the sport amongst new audiences.”
Further announcements regarding rosters, schedules and competition format for the FIBA Esports Open 2020 will be made next week.