esports betting operator Unikrn has been named an official partner of Kings Guard Gaming, a new esports franchise launched by National Basketball Association (NBA) team the Sacramento Kings.

Unikrn will work alongside Playwire Media to represent Kings Guard to brands and agencies. This arrangement will see Unikrn serve as the day-to-day contact for Kings Guard and Playwire act as the primary contact for sales opportunities, ad programmes and sponsorships.

Unikrn will also help develop and distribute content for Kings Guard via its in-house team and community platform.

Playwire has worked with Unikrn since December last year, handling media such as online advertising, team branding and event sponsorship for the esports betting operator.

The companies' new partner, Kings Guard Gaming, is to compete in the inaugural NBA 2K League, a new esports competition based around EA Sports' popular basketball video game series. The league will feature teams backed by 17 of the 30 sides currently competing in the NBA, and tips off on May 1st.

Kings Guard is led by general manager and iconic basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, with Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Famer Urijah Faber serving as the team's director of mental performance and human optimisation.

"A shift into esports from the Kings shows a sharp understanding of what the coming months and years hold for sports and entertainment," Unikrn chief executive Rahul Sood said of Kings Guard Gaming's launch.

"Unikrn has the perfect combination of assets and experience to help drive major success for Kings Guard as they create an unprecedented bridge to the future of sports."

Sacramento Kings chief technology officer Ryan Montoya added: "Partnering with esports industry leaders like Unikrn and Playwire will provide Kings Guard and with a distinct advantage.

"We are excited to connect corporate partners with new global audiences that are growing exponentially day by day."