New Mexican NBA 2k Franchise Is Latest Step In NBA Latin America Expansion
This week at the NBA Innovation Summit as part of Mexico Week, the NBA 2K League announced the addition of a new franchise with DUX Gaming. The new team will be based in Mexico and will become the first expansion team in the NBA 2K League in Latin America, and the second international team with the Shanghai Gen. G Tigers, out of the 24 teams now in the NBA 2K League.
At the heart of this new partnership are two things. One, an innovative “club of the future” in DUX Gaming. The other, the continued expansion of the NBA in Mexico, which has already hosted more international NBA games than any other country outside of North America, has its own team – the Mexico City Capitanes – joining the G-League this season, and already hosting the NBA Academy in Latin America. “The opportunity to grow in Mexico and Latin America is a top priority for us,” NBA 2K League president Brendan Donohue told me on a call after the announcement. “The NBA is so big out there. And then, frankly, there’s also a very, very active 2k player community.
Bringing new disruptions and innovations to the NBA
DUX Gaming is a Madrid-based sports organization founded in 2018 by Xavier Robles and Jordi Torras, and already participates in international esports tournaments and Spanish soccer leagues, where they are two-time eLaLiga champions.
But that’s not all they do. In 2020, they became the first esports organization to buy a semi-professional football club with the purchase of DUX Internacional de Madrid. As Robles puts it, it was “a very disruptive move”. Earlier this year, DUX Gaming also founded DUX Logroño, which plays in the second division of Spanish women’s football.
So what is behind this unusual growth? “The majority of the teams there, they have a history, they have 100 years of history. What we would like to do is build a fan base. Robles explained. “How can we have a community? Our response is through content and through being disruptive.
The NBA 2K League is a clear logical next step for DUX Gaming, according to Robles. “Being a franchisee in the NBA kind of ticks those boxes. It allows us to do a lot of content obviously associated with the NBA, and it’s very disturbing because we are the first team in Europe to have participated in an NBA competition. “
Donohue explains that this approach makes them an ideal partner for the NBA 2K League where many teams also belong to NBA franchises, although DUX’s journey is unconventional. “They sort of speak our language, they know what it’s like to run traditional sports organizations, they understand eSports. They’re also in a great position to run a successful business – they’re already selling partnerships and they’re already creating content.
Opening up new possibilities for the NBA
For the NBA, the introduction of an NBA 2K team with DUX Gaming represents a plethora of opportunities, according to Raul Zarraga, vice president and general manager of the NBA in Mexico. “We encourage the participation of basketball in all its forms, ”Zarraga explains. “Mexico ranks 3rd among countries outside of the United States in terms of League Pass, also in international market engagement on social media channels. The content we generate is crucial to us. [With] a Mexican 2K team, imagine the level of content we can create on different platforms.
Then there are the partnerships they can enter into. According to Zarraga, “80% of NBA fans in Mexico regularly play video games. It is therefore a very important market for different brands. It’s a big market. This means that the opportunity to connect the different strands of the NBA’s presence in Mexico gives them a truly versatile offering. “We hope to have future games in Mexico, NBA games, with the G-League, we want to put that as part of that, so every time we approach a partner … we have for you, any kind of experience of basketball you want – you want to live, we have to live. We have digital. You want something based in Mexico with a Mexican theme? We have 2K. You want content? We have all kinds of content. So, what we are looking for from a business perspective is something that aligns with any type of strategy.
And as Donohue explains, having a team in Mexico creates new opportunities to engage fans. “It’s starting to engage that local audience more directly,” he says. “It’s totally different having a team in your market that you can aspire to be, meet with and connect with. I think that just elevates the momentum.
The Spanish-speaking franchise of the NBA
As for DUX Gaming in particular, they bring knowledge, experience and deep connections to the global Spanish speaking community. “It’s something that’s very cool for us – to be the team which is the Spanish speaking team,” Robles said.
For the NBA 2K League, this is an extremely important dimension. “We’ve been looking to connect with our Spanish speaking and 2k fans for quite some time now,” Donohue said. “It’s the perfect storm. We have an organization that has 20 million fans around the world following the DUX brand. They have amazing influencers, you know they are very, very influential in the Spanish speaking community. DUX Gaming’s list of social media talents and influencers includes DjMaRiiO, Kolderiu, Gravesen and Chigré.
But as Robles describes, this move is also a vital step in the growth of DUX Gaming, whose Spanish content “is mostly consumed by Latin Americans more than Spaniards,” adding “So we had to go to America. Latin one way or another. ”
The NBA 2K League offers them something vital to their mission: a renowned partner who can open doors. “It’s difficult as an organization as a creator … as a company to enter new markets,” Robles says. “So when you enter a new market, if you do it with locals, or with people who have been there for a long time, and they already give you a base. It’s much better. We’ve done it in the past and the NBA has it, has a name, has people who work in Mexico.
This is just the beginning
For the NBA 2K League, there is a lot more to come. “It plants a flag in a very unique and very new way.” Donohue said, “I hope you create more teams across Latin America, certainly tap into a very, very rabid 2k and NBA fan base that already exists there.”
This rabid fan base will also have plenty of new opportunities to get involved. DUX Gaming will compete in the NBA 2K League Draft in November. NBA 2K teams usually hold trials in local markets before the draft, and the NBA 2K League also has a lot of experience in hosting international trials after hosting in-person and remote international qualifying events in Hong Kong, London, Seoul and Shanghai for the best players. of the Europe and Asia-Pacific regions in their first four seasons. With the addition of DUX Gaming, this offers a new avenue for the best talent in the Latin American gaming world.
As for DUX Gaming themselves, Robles is certainly dreaming big. “The interesting thing, at least for me as a businessman, is how do you build the fan base of the future? We are not Football Club Barcelona – we haven’t been here for 120 years – nor the Lakers or the Celtics. It’s great to have a story. But we’re building our own story, and it’s exciting. We can build it with fewer attachments to certain things, ”he thinks. “People who know what’s going on in the esports industry, the marketing industry, the sports industry. This is a new thing. And this has some interest because we are trying to answer questions that no one has answered before.