• How the Hornets' latest venture could help land new fans, sponsors

    By: Erik Spanberg, Charlotte Business Journal

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Michael Jordan took a big first step into e-sports -- pro competitions in video games -- last year as part of a $26 million investment in a company called AXiomatic. Jordan joined backers such as fellow basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and fellow NBA owners Peter Guber and Ted Leonsis.

    Last week, Jordan took another step when Hornets Sports & Entertainment disclosed plans to own and run a team in the NBA 2K league. Jordan is the majority owner of HSE, the umbrella company whose principal asset is the NBA Charlotte Hornets franchise.

    [ALSO READ: Charlotte Hornets see value jump to $1.25 billion on new Forbes’ list]

    The Hornets-owned e-sports team will begin play in 2020; a name and logo will be unveiled later this year.

    Take-Two Interactive Software, a video game publisher, developer and marketer, owns the 2K league with the NBA. It debuted in 2018. On April 2, NBA 2K started its second season with 21 teams. Take-Two is the creator and publisher of the NBA 2K video game, the second best-selling sports title in the world behind FIFA soccer. In 2017, NBA 2K18 was the most popular video game in the U.S.

    “If you’re a basketball fan, I think you’re going to enjoy it,” said Nicole Blackman, who will oversee the Hornets’ 2K team as senior manager of e-sports. Blackman previously oversaw the Hornets’ app and mobile strategy. “It’s really fun, it’s really fast-paced. The games tend to be very close. There’s a lot of parity in the league, which is nice.”

    Read the full story here.

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