INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Pacers are ramping up to enter the rapidly-growing world of eSports, which Senior Vice President Kelly Krauskopf calls a "groundbreaking" opportunity. The team is taking part in the league's inaugural NBA 2K video game competition, beginning in early 2018 and mirroring the NBA season. The competition will feature teams of professional video gamers fielded by 17 NBA organizations, including many of the Pacers' traditional on-court rivals such as the New York Knicks, Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.

During an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Krauskopf said the league has already attracted new potential sponsors.

Cody Parrent, co-owner of Evansville-based market research and e-commerce firm Blue Commerce LLC, will report to Pacers Senior Vice President Kelly Krauskopf.

The NBA is partnering with Take-Two Interactive Software, which makes the NBA 2K video game series, on the league. The move makes the NBA the first U.S. professional sports league to operate an eSports league. 

Pacers owner Herb Simon says he is "very, very bullish" on the concept, calling it a "new source of income (and) a new source of entertainment." Ultimately, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is hoping all 30 of the association's organizations will own an eSports team.

Each team will consist of five professional gamers competing in the NBA 2K video game through a regular season, leading to a postseason that will end with a championship. 

The teams involved in the inaugural season include:

Boston Celtics
Cleveland Cavaliers
Dallas Mavericks
Detroit Pistons
Golden State Warriors
Indiana Pacers
Memphis Grizzlies
Miami Heat
Milwaukee Bucks
New York Knicks
Orlando Magic
Philadelphia 76ers
Portland Trail Blazers
Sacramento Kings
Toronto Raptors
Utah Jazz
Washington Wizards