As it reaches its fifth season, the NBA 2K League announced sweeping changes to its competitive format. Some of the changes announced today aim to open the league up to more players. Others, like a new 3v3 event, will shake up the future of the league. Overall, these changes represent a shift away from the traditional sports format, with the “biggest prize pool in NBA 2K League history.”
BIG changes are coming to the NBA 2K League in Season 5👀
— NBA 2K League (@NBA2KLeague) December 16, 2021
A Tournament-Centric Season – The Future of the NBA 2K League
In the previous four seasons, NBA 2K League teams played games weekly. The format mirrored most sports leagues: a regular season, in which the teams with the best record would qualify for a post-season tournament to determine a champion. The NBA 2K League featured three additional tournaments, as well: The Tipoff, which opened the season, and The Turn, which occurred mid-season, and The Ticket, which featured teams that had not already qualified for the post-season.
The first two events in The Banner Chain, as the three tournaments are collectively called, did not affect a team’s playoff chances. Instead, they added extra incentives to league play. Teams who performed well in The Tipoff and The Turn gained extra prize money, and ties in the regular season were decided by a team’s performance in these tournaments. The top team of each league in The Ticket qualified for the final two spots in the NBA 2K League playoffs.
For Season 5, The Banner Chain remains. However, the entire season will now revolve around qualifying and competing in these three events. In an explainer video, the apply named “V.O. Guy” clarifies that The Banner Chain tournaments will now last weeks rather than a weekend. In Season 5, teams will earn points based on how well they perform while qualifying for and playing in these tournaments. This points system is how teams will qualify for the playoffs in Season 5.
Confused on how this will work exactly? Me too. A press release promises that more info on the 2022 season will drop in “the coming months,” so hopefully there will be a more detailed explanation of what Season 5 will look like.
The Pros Versus the World – 3v3 in the NBA 2K League
The rest of today’s changes revolve around the addition of a new 3v3 league. Season 5 will feature 3v3 tournaments in the same format that it features traditional 5v5s. Each NBA 2K League team will choose 3 players to represent them in the 3v3 events, and the 3v3 league will feature its own three tournament format and its own prize pool.
The coolest announcement here is that the 3v3 events will feature amateur teams from around the globe. The first two 3v3 tournaments will feature amateur teams from North America, while the third will feature one amateur team each from the Asia-Pacific and European regions. Regional qualifying events will take place leading up to these three tournaments. The 3v3 post-season will feature amateur teams based on their performance in these events. Again, more information on how to qualify for these events will be announced in the coming months.
Finally, the NBA 2K League is proudly boasting an improved prize pool. The explainer repeatedly mentioned that it will be the largest prize pool in NBA 2K League history. Likely, it has to do with the league’s new (unfortunate) partnership with Coinbase, a crypto exchange platform. Like other specifics, we’ll know more about how big we’re talking “soon.”