The NBA is expected to become the latest sport to make the switch to esports, broadcast on TV, to make up for the lack of real-world competition.
With the coronavirus pandemic putting a halt on almost all global sport, several have made the switch to esports. These include Nascar, Formula One and the NFL, and from this Friday it is claimed the NBA will follow suit.
According to league sources speaking to Yahoo Sports, real NBA professionals will take part in an NBA 2K video game tournament, to be broadcast on ESPN from this Friday, April 3. The league is hoped to launch with a 16-player tournament spread over 10 days.
It is said to include Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell and four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, along with other big-name players, the sources said.
Sources: Clarity, it will be a 16-player NBA 2K tournament lasting 10 days. 4-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins among the participants. https://t.co/0V1LfU9pnI — Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 31, 2020
Social distancing measures are to remain in place across the US until at least April 30, but this is expected to be increased as coronavirus cases and deaths are continuing to rise across most countries.
Professional basketball's switch from court to console comes after a host of pro Nascar drivers took to the grid for televised races earlier in March.
The same is also happening each weekend with Formula One, as past and present professional drivers take on pro sim racers and other sports stars using the official F1 video game. These races have been broadcast on TV, as well as on YouTube and video game streaming platform Twitch, and feature professional commentators.