• Loading stock data...
Sunday, May 19, 2024

How Ronnie Singh Became ‘Ronnie2K’

Ronnie Singh — more well-known as Ronnie2K —might be one of the most prominent success stories in the industry when it comes to carving out a niche.

He grew up an avid fan of the San Francisco 49ers, plastering his bedroom walls with any newspaper clippings that further sculpted his fandom. He participated in all sports, but a certain affinity for basketball spawned as his youth turned into adolescence. As his academic career evolved to the University of California San Diego, he churned through numerous majors, unsure of what he exactly wanted to do in his life. A passion for working in sports was apparent, but a path for getting there was not entirely visible.

“I always wanted to work in sports, so I was just bouncing around. It was super frustrating for me, my folks, and my family because I kept changing majors.”

Absent of the many Sport Management programs that are in place today, Singh would eventually settle on majoring in Economic Management Science with a minor in Law. He was going to attempt to venture down the familiar path of being a sports agent. After taking the LSAT, Singh shifted his focus again, deciding that getting into the workforce right away and gathering experiences could heap future gains.

“I went to work for two different law firms — Morrison & Foerster and Fish & Richardson. But I just wasn’t really liking it. Midway through my second job at Fish, I sought this opportunity — it kind of landed on my lap — to work for a women’s basketball team in San Diego.”

An audible from a good job in a traditional industry to the flirtatious sports industry is becoming more commonplace, but not without its initial warts.

“I was working at this law firm making tons of money and I was working for this sports team making no money really. I had to go one way or the other, so I decided to just do the sports thing and hope for the best.”

Ah, the classic welcome to the sports business moment we all know and love!

After a brief stint with the women’s basketball team, Singh pivoted to a marketing position with a San Diego-based minor league baseball team. His first order of business: sign Jose Canseco at the height of his Juiced fame.

“I brought Jose on and got him signed due to our personal relationship when I was younger. About a week after he was on the team, he found out there was a team in Long Beach, so we ended up trading him. A week later, they were coming back to visit the San Diego team, so the night before, we bought these juice boxes and stickers of his face and put them on the juice boxes, and this is like six months after his book came out about the steroid stuff. It just blew up. It was on SportsCenter, it was everywhere. So this was my first viral marketing quote unquote campaign.”

A star at his day job, Singh still relished in honing his craft in perhaps his greatest passion: playing 2K.

“I was like most other kids — I played 2K after I got off work and just really enjoyed playing. I was on the leader boards for NFL and NBA 2K5, but I had been playing 2K since (it was) 2K. After a couple of years of writing on the message boards, there was this opportunity to run the forums. So I started with that position, and social media started to grow and I started to carve out my own niche. There was experiences along the way that were really big moments. Now I have all of the followers that I have and it’s pretty crazy.”

Singh parlayed being an avid gamer, active message board user, and eventual forum leader into becoming a social media stalwart, and the eventual de facto face of the NBA 2K franchise. His niche had been carved, and with it came great responsibility.

Today, Singh is the digital marketing director at 2K, has a social imprint that is usurped by only a few handful of elite NBA players along with a contact list that would make top NBA agents blush, and in many ways, serves as the link between the 2K community, the players, and the developers. When users are clamoring to know the rating of their favorite player, Singh’s Twitter mentions are cast into overdrive. When a player has a gripe about his rating (*cough* John Wall), Singh is the one who bears the brunt of the beef, and most of the time, it is by way of his own influence.

“John and I have been friends for a long time. This is all tongue and cheek stuff that’s very orchestrated. It’s all to drive as many eyeballs as possible.”

There is no coincidence that his rise is correlated to the elevation of the 2K franchise as a whole, but make no mistake, his marketing prowess is a key cog in the machine. He is a master at garnering said eyeballs.

Many executives have a marketing ethos that they like to stay accountable to, and Singh is no different. He knows that a glut of his fan base has a tendency to shut off from the rest of the world when NBA 2K releases — significant others are ignored, obligations to society are pushed aside — and he has done a great job of leveraging that through assorted campaigns including 2K Day.

“The biggest mission statement of my job is tie to whatever is the latest and greatest and make it about 2K. The league (NBA) has done a really good job of becoming a 365 league which has made it necessary for us to be a 365 game offering.”

Singh applies his ethos by attaching both himself and the 2K brand to the players and events that are socially relevant during a given moment. It may sound simple in the aggregate, but sometimes simplicity is the ultimate display of sophistication.

“If there is a huge event, like Devin Booker’s 70-point game, let’s try to tie to those moments, both from an in-game perspective in terms of what we’re delivering for content like moments cards, but also from a ‘let’s connect to this person so that people think of the game’.”

Connection to players during the season when game action is a daily occurrence is one thing, but keeping the conversation circulating during the offseason is an entirely different animal to tackle. Even throughout the dog days of August, NBA 2K was continually scattered throughout my social feeds. One day a trailer would be released, the next week would bring along screenshots of gameplay. But no social currency has been more valuable to both Singh and the 2K brand than the topic of ratings.

Approximately 214 NBA players constructed a post about their rating on a social platform before the game released this month per Singh, and the debate and circulation that each rating sequesters is invaluable in the cutthroat game of obtaining eyeballs. And the best part is, Singh and his staff don’t pay a dime for it.

“Other brands are paying significant money for those kind of postings. And we don’t — we have a strict policy to not do that.”

Marketing mantras aside, Singh is sure to downplay his impact on the game’s popularity in comparison to the hundreds of members of the development team. Without a great product to take to market, his job would present its fair share of challenges.

“The game is so good and it keeps getting better and bigger and more mindblowing. I’m very lucky that I work at a company with a bunch of really brilliant people that allow me to just put some gasoline on the fire. I’m one of 400, and I am very lucky to work with the people that I work with.”

In terms of advice for those who thirst to reach the heights of the industry that he has eclipsed, Singh emphasizes the idea of seeking out your niche.

“I’ve always been of the mindset that if you really, really, really want to do something you can figure out a way to make money doing it. There’s a million ways to get here, but once you get here, you have to work really hard to carve out a niche and continue to pursue that passion.”

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Michael Block signs autographs on the 18th hole during day three of practice for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

‘I Prefer It This Way’: How Life Works for PGA Club Pros

Here’s how life works for the qualifiers at golf’s second major.
February 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; The grounds of the Capitol Building empty out following the conclusion of President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019.

‘A Breathtaking Lobbying Campaign’: The NCAA’s Sophisticated Effort to Save Amateurism

Inside the carefully coordinated, multimillion-dollar operation to end the athletes’ rights era.

The WNBA Rookies Are Creating a New Celebrity Row

Major celebs like Kim Kardashian and Latto are showing up for the newbies.
Bally-Sports

DSG’s Path to Revival Faces Major Pushback from MLB, NBA, and NHL

Three major pro leagues raise further concerns about the bankrupt Bally Sports parent.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

MLB, NBA, NHL Broadcasting Future Goes to Court

0:00

Featured Today

The WNBA Was Forged in Houston. Why Won’t It Go Back There?

Houston’s a perfect fit for expansion. The league isn’t considering it yet.
May 9, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) stands with the team during the national anthem on Thursday, May 9, 2024, during the preseason game against the Atlanta Dream at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
May 12, 2024

‘Perfect Storm’: The Rise of Local WNBA Broadcast Pacts

With national attention reaching new heights, regional coverage could dictate the future.
Mar 29, 2023; New York, New York, USA; American actors and comedians Chris Rock (left) and Ben Stiller sit court side during the third quarter between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden.
May 11, 2024

The Haves and Have-Nots: How the Knicks’ Celebrity Row Works

Unwritten rules, an expectation of quid pro quo, and nothing is free.
May 6, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Red Bull driver Max Verstappen (1) of the Netherlands walks through the garage area following qualifying for the Miami Grand Prix at Miami International Autodrome.
May 5, 2024

Max Verstappen Is Unstoppable. Is That Hurting F1 With New American Fans?

Formula One could be facing an inevitable plateau in the United States.

Careers

Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Adidas
Multiple - USA Careers
FanDuel
Multiple - USA Careers
Sponsored

How Daily Fantasy Sports Solved NBA Fantasy

The remarkable growth of the #1 Discord sports server in the world.
Oct 5, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, points to the lettering outside of the museum Tuesday.
February 28, 2024

How Do You Keep Negro Leagues Baseball History Alive? Put It in a Video Game

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum attracting increased donations, visits from ‘MLB The Show.’
February 29, 2024

Electronic Arts’ Layoffs Signal Ongoing Evolution, Struggles

The company is set to make a second major round of staff cuts in the last year.
Sponsored

Major League Rugby’s Vision for American Rugby

How Major League Rugby is leading the Rugby renaissance in the U.S.
Sony-Playstation-Demo-Booth
February 27, 2024

Sony to Lay Off 900 From PlayStation Team After Missed Sales Target

Cuts come amid a tough stretch for the gaming industry.
EA Sports
February 15, 2024

EA Sports: Summer Release for Long-Dormant College Football Video Game

Ed O’Bannon’s historic lawsuit led to the shuttering of EA Sports’ popular college games.
Gatorade
February 14, 2024

Was the Gatorade Color Compromised Before Super Bowl LVIII Kickoff?

Multiple gambling companies saw a sharp spike in the color purple prior to Sunday’s kickoff.
Reba McEntire Super Bowl
February 12, 2024

Reba McEntire Repeated ‘the Brave’ in the National Anthem, Sending Prop Bettors Spiraling

BetMGM paid bettors on both the over and the under.