The NBA 2K League dropped two huge announcements today. First, they revealed the schedule for Season 5. Tip-off begins in March, and this season will include both online and in-person games. Second, they clarified that all in-person games will be played in a new pavilion in Indianapolis, Indiana. The NBA 2K League Studio at The Pavilion at Pan Am will house all of Season 5’s bracket play, if COVID-19 stays out of the way.
There is only one place to be crowned in season 5, Indianapolis… the city of champions 🏆 pic.twitter.com/3YiTeVs5mk
— NBA 2K League (@NBA2KLeague) February 9, 2022
Season 5’s Indianapolis Home: The NBA 2K League Studio
The press release has great things to say about Indianapolis’ new NBA 2K studio. The studio’s “innovative design” will allow the league to run multiple in-person games at once. Multiple set-ups will allow events to finish faster. Plus, the league’s broadcast team will be able to swap back and forth between big moments with multiple games on-stage simultaneously.
Season 5’s hybrid schedule is a steppingstone between the classic eSports studio experience and last year’s COVID-necessitated remote play. Here’s how the hybrid concept will work:
- All group play and qualifying events will be played remotely. This makes the most sense, especially considering this year’s addition of multiple community qualifier events.
- All brackets will be played in the studio in Indianapolis. The season’s most impactful games will still have the league’s full production value. Also, the NBA 2K League plans on selling tickets to their in-person events, so fans will be able to return to watch The Banner Chain.
Indianapolis’ Latest Big Event
Indianapolis has played host to many large events over the past 10 years. The city regularly hosts the Big Ten college basketball tournament. Last year, Indianapolis served as home base to a bizarre March Madness that used the state of Indiana as a kind of COVID-19 bubble. The city has struggled to keep other events in-state, though. GenCon, a yearly gaming convention, threatened to leave Indiana over an attempt to give companies the legal right to deny service to members of the LGBT community. The city lost Pokemon’s US National tournament over the same bill. The NBA 2K League is a good get for a city whose own NBA 2K League team is on the up. I wonder how much of this decision has to do with the state’s lax vaccination policies.
When is The Banner Chain?
The NBA 2K League tips off on March 23 with the SLAM OPEN, the league’s first online amateur qualifying event. Here are the dates for this year’s Banner Chain events.
April – THE TIPOFF
- 5– 8 THE TIPOFF Group Play (Remote)
- 12– 15 THE TIPOFF Group Play (Remote)
- 20 – 23 THE TIPOFF Bracket Play (NBA 2K League Studio, Indianapolis)
May to June – THE TURN
- 24 – 27 THE TURN Group Play (Remote)
- 31 – June 3 THE TURN Group Play (Remote)
- June 8 – 11 THE TURN Bracket Play (NBA 2K League Studio, Indianapolis)
August – THE TICKET & NBA 2K League Finals
- 12 – 13 THE TICKET (NBA 2K League Studio, Indianapolis)
- 17 – 20 NBA2KL 3v3 Playoffs and Finals (NBA 2K League Studio, Indianapolis)
- 24 – 27 NBA2KL 5v5 Playoffs and Finals (NBA 2K League Studio, Indianapolis)