NBA 2K League adds Panera Bread as restaurant partner

Making that bread.

Photo via NBA 2K League

The NBA 2K League introduced Panera Bread as its first official restaurant partner today, just a couple weeks before the league hosts its annual draft in New York on Feb. 22. 

As a part of the deal, Panera will deliver food to NBA 2K League hosts, broadcasters, and players during matches. Additionally, the brand will present the “Rookies Who Deliver” and “deliver” the draft.

For Panera, the partnership marks the brand’s first with an esports league and the NBA 2K League’s first with a restaurant. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

The Rookies Who Deliver presented by Panera Bread will feature stories from 2020 NBA 2K League rookies both on and off the virtual court, as well as highlighting their performances as the season progresses. 

“As we approach our third season and the NBA 2K League continues to grow, we are excited to partner with a world-class brand like Panera Bread,” NBA 2K League managing director Brendan Donohue said. “We are going to have an incredibly talented rookie class and look forward to working with Panera to share their amazing stories as they make their mark on the league, beginning on draft day 2020.”

While some of the branding activities surrounding the upcoming draft haven’t been fully revealed, this year’s draft will include the addition of two new teams, the Hornets Venom GT and the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai, expanding the league to 23 teams. 

The NBA 2K League been active with sponsors since its inception, being connected to one of America’s most established traditional sports leagues. The league has partnerships with New Era, AT&T, Champion, Bud Light, HyperX, and Scuf Gaming, among others.