NEW YORK, March 25, 2021 – The NBA 2K League today recognized outstanding achievement in team marketing and business operations for the 2020 season when the league presented its NBA 2K League Team Business Awards.
Raptors Uprising GC won three awards – the Partnership of the Year Award, Digital Campaign of the Year Award and Business Influencer Award – while Wizards District Gaming was honored with the Pitch of the Year Award and Hawks Talon GC was presented with the Best Livestream Award.
All 23 teams that competed during the 2020 season were invited to submit entries for each category, with the winners chosen by NBA 2K League representatives.
“The NBA 2K League Team Business Award recipients embody the fortitude and innovative thinking that was necessary for our league and its teams to turn the challenging year of 2020 into a transformative season of growth,” said NBA 2K League President Brendan Donohue. “By setting high standards of excellence and a commitment to reach fans around the world, these teams and individuals further established the league’s global presence.”
Hawks Talon GC was presented with the Best Livestream Award, which recognized the best livestreamed program, Talon Takeover. The first-of-its-kind series achieved higher-than-average measured viewership last season and blurred the line between music and esports by featuring celebrities, entertainers and influencers playing NBA 2K on the team’s Twitch channel.
“We are super excited to receive this award from the NBA 2K League,” Hawks Talon GC Team Manager and Head Coach Wesley Acuff said. “We want to thank all the influencers who came on Talon Takeover to game with us. We’re also appreciative of everyone who tuned in and everyone in our organization who worked behind the scenes to make this series happen.”
Raptors Uprising GC was a finalist for the Best Livestream Program Award.
Partnership of the Year
Raptors Uprising GC received the Partnership of the Year Award for its one-of-a-kind partnership with Bell, the Canadian telecommunications leader. A finalist for Partnership of the Year in 2019, Raptors Uprising GC and Bell created the iconic #BellFibeHouse, a state-of-the-art home which was converted into a gaming facility where the team played during the 2020 season and went on to produce a regular season 16-0 record, win two in-season tournaments (THE TIPOFF and THE TURN Powered by AT&T), and advance to the semifinals of the 2020 NBA 2K League Playoffs Delivered by DoorDash.
As the home and gaming facility for the team, the #BellFibeHouse served as a unique platform to produce captivating content showcasing the lifestyles of the Raptors Uprising GC’s players throughout the season. At the forefront was Fibe House, a content series in which the team satirized classic sitcoms and commercials from the 1990s, which were showcased on the Bell Fibe social and digital platforms.
Additional finalists for the Partnership of the Year Award included Raptors Uprising GC for their partnership with Ontario-based lottery company OLG, and Nets GC for their partnership with Zenni Optical.
Pitch of the Year
Wizards District Gaming received the Pitch of the Year Award for its renewed partnership with home automation and monitoring services company, Alarm.com. The award recognizes best incremental or new business execution during the 2020 season.
In its pitch, Wizards District Gaming positioned the NBA 2K League as an opportunity for Alarm.com to enter into the esports space and shared the long-term business advantages of connecting with the NBA 2K League’s attractive audience. Wizards District Gaming engaged in a multi-step process to educate Alarm.com, working closely with the company to develop a marquee platform and align with the brand’s objectives.
The partnership included an Alarm.com jersey patch worn by Wizards District Gaming players during their 2020 championship season. Additionally, Wizards District Gaming hosted its Draft Night War Room at the Alarm.com Demo House during the
Cavs Legion GC was a finalist for the award for its TCP partnership pitch, which featured naming rights of the team’s training facility, Legion Lair Lit by TCP.
Digital Campaign of the Year
After being a finalist for the award in 2019, Raptors Uprising GC won the Digital Campaign of the Year Award, which honored the best season-long marketing campaign. The team’s digital campaign focused on engaging both their core audience and new fans by incorporating players, content creators and partners.
In its Fibe House content series, the team replicated the episode structure of popular commercials. The content exemplified creativity and went outside the scope of gaming while providing fans with easily digestible and highly sharable content and created a behind-the-scenes dialogue with fans of the team.
Pacers Gaming was a finalist for the award for its work developing the team’s YouTube channel.
Business Influencer Award
Recognizing team personnel for leadership, support and outstanding business results for NBA 2K League team endeavors, the first-ever Business Influencer Award was given to Sumit Arora, a Senior Director of Strategy at Raptors Uprising GC and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Arora’s efforts resulted in success across the team’s business and gaming operations. His authentic drive to further implement innovation established his place as contributor to the team’s success.
NBA 2K League teams nominated six additional personnel for the award, including Adam Ward, Digital Content Specialist (Blazer5 Gaming); Mark Mazzagatti, Manager of Franchise Partnerships (Cavs Legion GC); Jerry Ferrara, Head Scout (Knicks Gaming); Greg Nared, Senior Vice President of Esports, Youth Basketball & Player Relations, Dallas Mavericks (Mavs Gaming); Rachael Lewis, Director of Communications, BSE Global (Nets GC); and Jim Van Stone, President of Business Operations, Monumental Sports & Entertainment (Wizards District Gaming).