Just weeks before the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft takes place, the NBA 2K League made yet another big move, announcing their new partnership with American restaurant chain Panera Bread last Thursday.
Panera Bread will be the presenting sponsor of the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft on Feb. 22 at Terminal 5 in New York City. It will be the main food provider for the NBA 2K League’s hosts, broadcasters, and players during live broadcasts of the 2020 season which tips off in the spring.
Panera Bread becomes the 10th corporate sponsor for the now-three-year-old NBA 2K League. However, Panera Bread’s partnership with the league is its first esports partnership. The 2K League’s partners also include other non-esports related brands like Champion, New Era, AT&T, Stance, Snickers, and Bud Light.
“As we approach our third season and the NBA 2K League continues to grow, we are excited to partner with a world-class brand like Panera Bread,” said NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue said in a statement in the league’s press release. “We are going to have an incredibly talented rookie class and look forward to working with Panera to share their amazing stories as they make their mark on the league, beginning on draft day 2020.”
Panera Bread will also present the league’s new Rookies Who Deliver presented by Panera Bread weekly feature video series on the league’s YouTube channel. The series will feature various players of the 2020 draft class and tell their stories both on and off the virtual court, along with highlighting the standout rookies of the week during the season.
“With gaming being a popular activity for our customers, in partnership with our agency, Connect at Publicis, we jumped at the opportunity to partner with the NBA 2K League and enter into the esports space with such an established partner,” echoed Beth Ringer, Vice President of Media Strategy at Panera Bread in the press release.
Wizards District Gaming will have the first overall pick in the draft, followed by the 2018 inaugural league champion, Knicks Gaming, with Hawks Talon GC, rounding out the top three. The league’s two new expansion teams – Shanghai’s Gen.G Tigers, the league’s first non-NBA affiliated team, and Hornets Venom GT of the Charlotte Hornets, will pick fifth and sixth, respectively. The defending champion T-Wolves Gaming will have the 22nd overall pick to round out the first round.
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