The esports phenomenon finds its footing in Minnesota

The esports phenomenon finds its footing in Minnesota

Esports have exploded over the past decade—selling out enormous stadiums, attracting huge corporate sponsors, and, as a result, many of the players will likely become household names as this gamer revolution continues to grow.  

And we Minnesotans may want to pay closer attention, as the Timberwolves have entered into this new realm and recently created the new esports affiliate team called T-Wolves Gaming which will partake in the NBA 2K League.

Minnesota’s own esports team

Now, if you’re like me, I too had no idea what NBA 2K League means. The last game console I owned was an Atari. I am definitely not a gamer.

For those of us still catching up, the NBA 2K League is a professional esports conference that was co-founded in 2018 by the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. In this esports conference, teams compete against each other playing the video game called, “NBA 2K”.

Still with me?

The gamers each create individual, fictional characters with backstories and personalities that fans can root for. But it’s not for amateurs. These gamers are the best at what they do. And they have to be as the NBA 2K League mimics the operations of traditional professional sports teams which includes drafts.

Back in September, the Timberwolves participated in their first T-Wolves Gaming NBA 2K League Expansion Draft and selected some esteemed gaming competitors: Brandon “Hood” Caicedo and Mihad “I F E A S T” Feratovic.

In a press release, Timberwolves & Lynx CEO Ethan Casson stated, “In acquiring Hood and drafting I F E A S T, we secured two cornerstone players for our team, both of whom we had our sights set on as we went through the draft process. We’re excited to engage the avid esports audience in Minnesota and Timberwolves fans around the world as we move forward and build our T-Wolves Gaming brand.”

Both Hood and I F E A S T will relocate to Minnesota for training and will be accommodated with housing, a retirement plan, benefits, and a salary that equates what actual NBA players earn on the NBA’s developmental league.

Maybe I should’ve upgraded my Atari after all…

The T-Wolves Gaming players will be competing in 5-on-5 play against the 20 other league teams in a mix of regular-season games, in-season tournaments, and playoffs. To prepare, the competitors will be training with Head Coach and General Manager Shawn Vilvens.

Where do they train, you ask?

Plans have been unveiled for a new training facility for the T-Wolves Gaming team that will be located on the second floor of Mayo Clinic Square, formerly called the Experience Center. This state-of-the-art 3,000 square-foot practice facility will be divided into a gaming space and an office space. The gaming space will be circular in design with exposed ceilings and have streaming services and the capability to host events while the office side will have a kitchenette with food and beverages for the players as well as a room to strategize and watch film.

Now with the new training facility in the works and the official T-Wolves Gaming logo revealed (it’s a cool-looking wolf), the Timberwolves are well on their way to figuring out their esports brand as well as creating a potentially new wildly popular Minnesota team that might actually consistently win.

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