NBA 2K League CEO fires “everybody” on staff to revamp esports league

Declan Mclaughlin

The NBA 2K League outlined a massive “revamp” for the 2025 season, which included laying off broadcast staff along with general managers and coaches.

The league, and 2K as an esport, has been struggling for viewers and engagement since its first season in 2018, and that hasn’t changed much as the years have gone on.

The league saw some early success when it launched in 2018, and some increased interest in 2022, but it hasn’t managed to grow its viewership across 2023 and 2024.

According to Esports Charts, the 2K League did not break 26,000 peak viewers in any of its four major tournaments in 2024. Meanwhile, League of Legends’ biggest international tournament in 2023 broke 6 million peak viewers.

The league appointed its first CEO, Andrew Perlmutter, on September 28, 2023, to replace Brendan Donohue, the league’s inaugural president, who left his position a month later.

Perlmutter held a town hall with the league staff and management on July 2, according to 76ers GC General Manager and Head Coach Jeff Terrell and NBA 2K League insider Ja Bridgeforth.

The league CEO announced massive layoffs during the short meeting and laid out plans for the league’s big revamp.

The General Manager for Heat Check Gaming, one of the teams in the league, posted on social media after the town hall that Perlmutter “fired everybody in 10 minutes and got off.”

Other league employees, like casters Harris Rubenstein and Jamie ‘Dirk’ Diaz Ruiz, also said they were now out of work after the town hall.

The two later went live on Twitch and Dirk claimed the league would be going on a hiatus, effectively leaving them and many pro players out of a job, for the next 18 months to revamp.

The NBA 2K League released its update following the town hall, saying it is “reimagining” the league into a “global digital entertainment business.”

The league will become “social-first” to reflect a style that “younger fans understand.” It’ll also have live events that aim to be “immersive experiences” in “playful environments.”

The future of the NBA 2K League also aims to get more actual NBA players involved in hopes of capturing a larger audience.

“We look forward to our next chapter and will share more details on our 2025 competitive season in the coming months,” the announcement said.

Fan response has been mixed, as many are upset at the lack of substance in the statement and the revamp of the league.

“League so unstructured man, said a whole bunch of nothin’ just to take other people’s jobs away. No other E-Sport would’ve done what you guys are doing rn, nobody is watching NBA/Celebs play with a Pro in only a 3v3 setting,” one social media user said.

Others said that the league was in desperate need of change anyway and were willing to give the revamp a chance.

“This is unfortunate for the people who lost jobs, but everyone knew the trajectory wasn’t sustainable. I’ll give it a chance, and not write off the new format before seeing it, but I strongly suggest y’all get creators involved more than celebrities who don’t care for our community.”

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