— Fourth Franchise Team added to Family of Indiana Teams
INDIANAPOLIS — Pacers Sports & Entertainment Tuesday officially announced a fourth team to its family of Indiana sports teams. Joining the NBA Pacers, the WNBA Fever and the G League Ft. Wayne Mad Ants, will be Pacers Gaming, one of 17 teams in the NBA 2K League, which debuts in May 2018.
The NBA is the first U.S. professional sports league to operate an official esports league. The NBA 2K League is a partnership between the NBA and the game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. NBA 2K is a video basketball simulation game with gameplay that simulates a typical game of basketball. The Pacers Gaming team will field a roster of five players who will be selected from a pool of the world’s best gamers via the League Draft in March.
“We are very excited to be among the first NBA teams to join the NBA 2K League,” said PS&E owner Herb Simon. “This is a great opportunity for us to get in on the ground floor of a fast-growing esports industry. I’m proud that our league is the first league to get into this exciting new world of professional esports competition. Our Pacers, Fever and Mad Ants fans now will have another team to root for.”
“We are as committed to win from Day One with Pacers Gaming as we are with our other teams,” said PS&E President Rick Fuson. “We are confident with our leadership that we will be very successful in the first season and beyond. But we are most excited about the fact that the league offers unprecedented access and opportunity.” NBA 2K playing skill is the primary qualifier to being a player in the 2K League; men/women, tall/short, young/old (18 or older), domestic/international — if one is among of the world’s best 2K players, he or she can be a part of this league.
Kelly Krauskopf, current Indiana Fever President and Pacers SVP, will serve as the primary leader of Pacers Gaming. In October, Krauskopf hired Cody Parrent as the Director of Esports Operations for Pacers Gaming. “We believe that in Cody we have one of the best judges of talent going forward in esports. We can’t wait to get started. We believe the 2K League presents the perfect opportunity to extend PS&E’s reach into the rapidly-growing esports community.”
Pacers Gaming, which will be the official name of the Pacers NBA 2K League team, unveiled its new logo on Tuesday. The logo features a modernized Pacers Panther which is unique to the franchise. “Boomer is part of the Pacers heritage; the logo takes Boomer into another dimension,” said Krauskopf. “Our goal was to create a logo that connected with our past while communicating an edgy, confident and dynamic esports brand. I think we accomplished that.”