When Tissot checked into the league in 2015, the original partnership wasn’t about a logo slap or an ad buy.
From the beginning, it was about finding a way to take what Tissot did best and combine it with what the NBA needed to deliver on a partnership that was fully integrated across the 30 teams in the league.
Around since 1954, the shot clock has played a large role in the evolution of basketball. But until 2015, most teams were using their own systems, with their own controllers, and their own quirks. That all changed when Tissot and the NBA agreed to their original partnership. As part of the deal, Tissot created a brand new shot clock and system that would be implemented across all 30 teams, effectively creating fewer headaches for everyone from scorekeepers and referees to replay officials in NYC.
A seemingly natural integration, Mr. François Thiébaud, president of Tissot, credits the partnership to delivering a lift in brand awareness in the United States, a key market for growth for the Swatch Group-owned brand.
“The partnership has been successful, helping to raise overall brand awareness in the United States. We are confident we will continue to see even more growth as a result of our new partnerships. The emotions and the spirit behind the sport will further translate into our products.”
Speaking of products, since partnering, Tissot has created three different series of NBA watches that have been sold around the globe.
Effectively executing on two of the three goals it set out to accomplish when first signing the agreement, Tissot continues to put resources toward being able to fulfill a third goal: Bringing the sport of basketball and the NBA around the globe, a key focus for Thiébaud and the brand.
“Our initial goals when beginning the partnership were threefold: To create quality NBA timepieces for the fans; to design, develop and manufacture an all-new timing system for the NBA and to future-proof its timing requirements; to bring the sport of basketball and specifically the NBA to fans all over the world.
“After three years of partnership, we have seen success in these goals, but our mission has only just begun as we strive to fulfill these missions even further around the globe.”
Outside of the NBA, Tissot isn’t unfamiliar territory with sports, a long time “passion” point for the brand.
Whether it’s FIBA, Tour de France, or any other number of the leagues and governing bodies it works with, the mission of being “more than just a partner” remains.
So, the company focused on what it does best.
“Tissot wanted to be part of the game by doing what it does best – timekeeping,” added Thiébaud. “In addition to being a natural vector for communication, reaching a large number of people through an exciting and emotional medium, timekeeping is also a way to stay on top in terms of technology. As sports evolve, so do we.”
Having a presence on the court, the brand has been able to extend its reach through the NBA’s various digital channels with Tissot Buzzer Beaters, a global social media franchise that is built around a player sinking a game-winning basket with 0.0 left on the clock.
If you notice a trend here, that’s because there is one. Tissot wants to be naturally integrated in ways that work for the brand’s overall positioning in the market. While the social franchise may be great and the NBA-specific watches might look good on your wrist, Thiébaud is most proud of what they were able to do to update the NBA’s timekeeping system.
“The task may have appeared simple from the outside, but upgrading a system last updated in 2004 was far from easy. A long journey was embarked upon from the conceptual phase, through testing, to the final implementation of the new system in the summer of 2016.”
Now present in all 29 arenas, Tissot Shot Clocks and the rest of their integrated activations are an example of a true partnership, one in which the brand — and, in this case, the league — and its teams both win.