NHL Could Follow NBA’s Lead In Making League-Wide eSports Competition


March 22, 2017

Making it to the NHL is a pretty unrealistic goal for most people. Soon, however, professional gamers could get the chance to represent their favorite NHL teams.

Speaking at a business summit Tuesday in New York, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman revealed a league-hosted eSports competition eventually could happen, according to SportsTechie. Bettman’s vision resembles the one shown by the NBA in its recently announced “NBA 2K” eLeague.

“We envision something that would augment a fan’s affinity to his team,” Bettman said Tuesday, via Sports Techie. “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.”

Electronic Arts’ “NHL” franchise currently is the only gaming series licensed by the NHL. And although those games routinely are fantastic, Bettman was noncommittal to EA’s franchise, in its current state, as being ready for league-sponsored eSports competition.

“Going back at least a year ago, we’ve been talking to EA about having a game that can replicate hockey in terms of having six players that are playing together against other teams, doing this more in terms of building a community…” Bettman said. “And if EA can continue to get some traction in developing a game that would work like that, we’ll be in that business.”

The NBA’s eLeague, scheduled to launch in 2018, will see NBA teams put gamers through a scouting combine and draft, with selected players participating in a season of games that could be broadcast from real NBA arenas. While Bettman gave no indication as to whether the NHL would follow a similar structure, we certainly hope he’ll consider it.

Thumbnail photo via Electronic Arts

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