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NHL sizing up eSports opportunity

Commissioner Gary Bettman envisions something like the NBA 2K eLeague, with each team running its own gaming squad

Traditional sports aren't going to be caught napping on the eSports trend. The NBA has already teamed up with Take-Two Interactive to roll out the NBA 2K eLeague, and now it seems the NHL wants to follow suit. As reported by SportTechie, NHL commisioner Gary Bettman discussed the league's interest at Leaders' Sport Business Summit in New York this week.

"We envision something that would augment a fan's affinity to his team because ultimately I could envision a league-wide competition where each club runs a competition to see who will be represented in the equivalent of our championship but for our eSport game," Bettman said.

That sounds very much like the NBA-2K partnership, which will launch next year with NBA franchises running their own eSports teams in a traditional league, complete with regular season and playoffs.

One key difference is that the NHL's gaming partner is Electronic Arts rather than Take-Two. And while EA runs its own eSports leagues, the publisher has focused its efforts to date on its larger sports titles like the FIFA and Madden Championship Series. However, Bettman said that the league has been discussing a possible eSports push with EA for at least a year.

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Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry International in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at CBS-owned GameSpot in the US.

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