The NBA 2K League team will be named Hawks Talon Gaming Club, the Hawks announced Wednesday night. Other important aspects such as a team logo, color scheme and staffing will come at a later date.
The NBA 2K League began in May with 102 players competing on the 17 teams. The 17-week season, with teams competing head-to-head, culminates with the championship on Aug. 25 as the playoffs begin this week.
Teams must live in their home markets and compete in weekly 5-on-5 games with unique characters (not current NBA players) at the league studio in New York City. Games are streamed on Twitch.
The league began with two stages of qualifying from a field of 72,000 players. A field of 250 players was further reduced to the 102 who were eligible for a draft held in April at Madison Square Garden.
There will be an expansion draft in the fall for the new franchises.
“We're very excited about the four teams, but we're extremely confident that the other teams are eventually going to join the league,” said Brendan Donahue, NBA 2K League managing director. “Many of them really kind of were back and forth this year before we got our final decisions. The league is a significant commitment, and we're actually glad that teams take that thought seriously. We think it makes sense for teams to join when it's best for them. … I would say the 30 teams overall, having spoken to all of them, they're very bullish on what we're doing.”
The commitment is considerable with a $750,000 expansion cost. In addition, players receive a salary of up to $35,000 for the six-month season. They also receive housing and insurance. This season there is also an opportunity at a share of $1 million in prize money.
Individual teams will support the NBA 2K franchise with team personnel including a general manager, coach and support staff. Koonin said the Hawks are still determining how they will fill new positions and job responsibilities but it could include the new team’s new G League team.
“It’s a significant commitment,” Koonin said. “We also feel it’s a very good business for us. … The NBA has become a 12-month a year sport over the past couple of years and this is just another arrow in that quiver.”