The National Basketball Association has in collaboration with the video game publisher Take-Two Interactive created an e-sports league in the US.
The development marks one of the most significant efforts at integrating video gaming with major sports league.
In the long-run, all 30 NBA teams will have an e-sports division but only a few will be selected for this initial stage.
On the English side, Premier League clubs Manchester City and West Ham have signed up e-sports players.
The e-basketball league, known as NBA 2K ELeague, will kick-off next year.
Similar to the real NBA season, the e-teams will be made up of five players and will play a five-month season.
Those selected to form part of the teams will be paid salaries and play the game with avatar identities they create for themselves, instead of representing actual players.
Reacting to the project, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said "We believe we have a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the young and growing e-sports community".
"We look forward to combining our best-in-class NBA sports team operators with Take-Two's competitive gaming expertise to create a brand new league experience."
Commenting on the development ,Take-Two’s chairman, Strauss Zelnick said: "Through the NBA 2K series, which is renowned throughout the world for capturing the authenticity of the NBA and the passion of its fans, we have a proven track record of highly successful collaboration.”
He added that "with this new venture, Take-Two and the NBA aim to fuel the accelerating growth of e-sports and take the thrill of competition to exciting new heights".