This year Swiss watchmaker Tissot expanded its partnership with the NBA to include the NBA 2K League – the official esports NBA league. I had the opportunity to ask Tissot Australia General Manager Scott Jungwirth, about the brands move into esports and plans for Tissot.
As the official timekeeper for the NBA, Tissot is a vital part of the basketball action on the real-life court. Scott discussed how the existing brand connections made it an easy decision to invest in the younger NBA 2K League.
“As official timekeeper of the NBA we felt it to be only natural to extend our implication within the basketball world into the basketball esport world. Through the NBA 2K platform, where the brand is broadly displayed (Timing Systems and advertisement boards) we felt confident to make an endemic transition from the game into the NBA 2K League. Esports is a new and interesting universe for us and we saw a great brand fit to venture into this field”, stated Scott. “Our ambition was to create a smooth transition on our presence through all the NBA platforms.”
Timekeeping in sports, and esports, share many similarities. Scott addressed the emotional connection of time and the Tissot brand to the NBA.
“As partner of the NBA we focused on creating emotional ties to the sport of basketball. Providing our Tissot Shot Clocks and timing systems to the NBA we focused from the beginning on the importance of time in basketball, linking our brand to the Buzzer Beater, one of the biggest moments in a basketball game. Time remains a key essence in all sports.”
Despite NBA having one of the younger traditional sports fan bases, with the median age of 42 in the USA, the move to esports creates the potential for the NBA and Tissot to connect with avid gamers in younger age brackets.
“The esports audience is really interesting and boasts a lot of potential. Being mostly a young demographic, we felt that this would be a unique opportunity to connect with aspiring consumers and esports fans around the world,” Scott shared.
Discussing more on the brands move into the realm of esports, I asked Scott if Tissot saw any particular risks involved with esports partnerships.
“…we see at as a sponsorship investment like any other. All partnerships stand on their own and cannot be compared since every sport has its own universe.”
In the face of uncertainty, with the current COVID-19 pandemic impacting traditional sports, I asked Scott about if Tissot was considering further esports partnerships.
“COVID-19 created an unprecedented situation with a lot of adjustments but also opportunities for brands. We are quite happy with the partnership and remain interested in esports development. How this translates to our strategies and development still needs to be determined.”
Tissot has been agile in response to COVID-19, partnering with 2 Australian hospitals impacted by the pandemic. Tissot provided pendant watches to the staff at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne and the St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.
I asked Scott if there are any plans for further integration of Tissot watches in 2K games, and if there is anything on the horizon, he could discuss.
“We already have a digital integration of our watches on the NBA 2K20 game platform, where players can purchase watches in the Neighbourhood to enhance the style of their avatar. 2K does a great job and our newest watches will be available for the upcoming NBA 2K21 edition along with some new initiatives.”
If you are interested in following the NBA 2K League, you can find live broadcasts and replays on their YouTube and Twitch channels.