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Earlier this year, the NBA 2K esports league announced that the Washington Wizards were among 17 NBA teams that will participate in its inaugural season, set to debut in 2018. Not long after, Monumental Sports & Entertainment became one of the first ownership groups in the NBA to hire a fulltime director to oversee the management and growth of its NBA 2K operation.
Grant Paranjape has now settled into that role. As Director of Esports Business and Team Operations, Paranjape will direct strategy and business initiatives for MSE’s esports business operations, including for its forthcoming NBA 2K esports team. With Esports emerging as one of the fastest-growing global entertainment markets, here's a look into Paranjape's place in that world.
Explain what you do at Monumental.
Grant Paranjape: I’m the Director of Esports Business and Team Operations for Monumental Sports. In my role I’ll be working on building our NBA 2K franchise, bringing esports as a whole to D.C., and any other esports-related activities that MSE is or will be involved in.
What have you previously done in the eSports world?
GP: My experience in esports began as a professional World of Warcraft player throughout high school. From there, I transitioned to playing League of Legends at a high level, while ultimately moving into the business side of esports after finishing my MBA. I went on to handle business development work for Rochester, NY-based Splyce, before ultimately transitioning to my new role here at MSE.
Why is the NBA 2K eleague a good addition for the 2K community?
GP: The NBA 2K eleague will add an unprecedented level of competition for the 2K community, as well as a path for the truly best players to create sustainable careers. By having players live in their local markets, play at a centralized studio, and compete as five-man squads, the eleague will build on lessons from previous esports leagues to create a truly unrivaled level of professionalism. Fans of the game can also expect to reap the benefits of the league through activations in their regions, exclusive giveaways, and everything in-between.
What is the day-to-day life for a 2K pro? How do they practice?
GP: The life of a 2K pro will closely model what we have seen be successful for esports titles with large scale leagues. That means living in a team house or apartment, waking up with the team early in the morning to hit the gym, eating a nutritionist-developed diet, and then starting their first scrim block. After a debrief with their coach, they’ll likely hit 1-2 more scrim blocks, eat, and repeat, for about 8-12 hours a day. Make no mistake, being a professional 2K player will be as rigorous as a full time job, with time being spent both in game, as well as fulfilling partner activations.
What will set the Wizards 2K team apart from the other teams competing in the league?
GP: Here at MSE, we’re building an esports infrastructure to truly set our team apart from the rest of the league. Whether it’s by utilizing our all-star production staff to tell the stories of our players, or our athletic trainers to develop a regimen that keeps our players in peak physical shape, we’re working on it. Our team will be given every advantage they need to perform at their best and to run the neighborhood.