The NBA basketball league, football’s Serie A and the World Athletics governing body have launched esports and fan engagement initiatives to keep fans entertained in the absence of live sport.

The NBA has teamed up with video game developer 2K to launch the NBA 2K Players Tournament. The tournament, which gets underway tomorrow (Friday) and runs until April 12, will see 16 current NBA players compete on the NBA 2K20 game.

The competition will air in the US on ESPN and feature NBA stars such as Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks. The winner will select a charity beneficiary to receive $100,000 (£80,000/€91,000) from 2K, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) in support of ongoing efforts in the fight against COVID-19.

Jason Argent, senior vice-president of sports strategy and licensing for 2K, said: “We’re thrilled to partner with the NBA and NBPA to bring basketball back to fans throughout the world and to help those in need during these uncertain times. Entertainment, especially sports, has the ability to bring communities together – including athletes, fans and families – and we hope that everyone will enjoy the tournament.”

The tournament will also be streamed on NBA.com, the NBA app, and 2K and NBA social channels including Twitter, Twitch, YouTube and Facebook.

Other players that will feature include Hassan Whiteside (Portland Trail Blazers), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Andre Drummond (Cleveland Cavaliers), Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls), Montrezl Harrell (LA Clippers), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers), Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns), DeMarcus Cousins (unattached), Michael Porter Jr. (Denver Nuggets), Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards), Patrick Beverley (LA Clippers), Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings) and Derrick Jones Jr. (Miami Heat).

Elsewhere, the Infront agency, the exclusive media, marketing and digital partner of the eSerie A competition, is delivering a pre-season esports competition for Italy’s leading clubs.

With both Serie A and its esports competition having been suspended due to COVID-19, the league has teamed up with Infront Italy to deliver an alternative event for fans. The tournament will feature the four FIFA 20 teams from eSerie A: Inter | Qlash, AS Roma, Genoa Esports and Fiorentina Esports.

The competition will stream on eSerie A’s YouTube channel and will promote Serie A’s ‘stay at home’ message.

Meanwhile, World Athletics has launched Athletics@Home, a new initiative designed to help people stay fit and active as they stay at home due to COVID-19.

World Athletics will distribute content across its website and social media channels. Content will be divided into four themes: Kids, Active, Rewind and Unwind.

The Kids sections will include activities, quizzes, online tutorials and interviews with athletics stars that are designed to entertain and educate, while Active will highlight exercises suitable for the whole family and fans of all ages. Rewind will offer a nightly feature looking back at classic athletics action, while Unwind will feature suggestions of athletics-related books, films and music playlists from athletes.

Image: NBA