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- Gen.G Esports has unveiled the name and team brand for its NBA 2K League franchise, the Tigers of Shanghai.
- The Tigers is the league’s first team outside North America and the first without a corresponding NBA franchise.
- Gen.G recently hosted a tournament in Shanghai, which qualified Chinese players for potential drafting into the 2020 league season.
The NBA 2K League solidified its presence in Asia last weekend with an Asia-Pacific Invitational tournament. At the event, held at Seoul’s Nexon Arena, Gen.G Esports revealed the name and branding for its own league franchise: the Tigers of Shanghai. The team will join the league in 2020 as the first competitors based outside of North America.
The Tigers of Shanghai borrows the same animal motif as Gen.G’s Seoul Dynasty Overwatch League franchise, while also sporting the same black-and-gold colors of both the Dynasty and Gen.G’s core esports brand. It is the first NBA 2K League team that is not an offshoot of an existing NBA basketball franchise.
Gen.G first revealed its partnership with the NBA 2K League in September of last year. On top of its competitive participation, the company is aiding the league’s development in the Asian market, especially China. The company recently held a Shanghai Invitational Pro-Am tournament, which qualified seven Chinese players for the APAC Invitational.
Like last year, league personnel will use the APAC Invitational to identify potential talent from China, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and South Korea for the upcoming 2020 season draft. NBA-China relations suffered in 2019 after the Houston Rockets’ general manager tweeted in support of the ongoing Hong Kong protests, however, this appears not to have had any lasting impact on the association’s esports venture.
The NBA 2K League further reached out to Chinese netizens last week by setting up an official account on social media platform Weibo. A Global Invitation Match will take place later this year, pitting APAC players and 2019 league MVP Michael “BearDaBeast” Key against players of NBA2K Online 2—a free-to-play online game in the series available exclusively in China.