• The deal is said to be worth $200 million over six years
  • Basketball league to use Tissot timing system starting in 2016

Tissot SA will become the first official timekeeper of the National Basketball Association in a six-year sponsorship valued at $200 million, according to a person familiar with terms of the deal. 

The agreement calls for Tissot to develop a new timing system for the NBA and to put its brand on the shot clocks in all 29 of the league’s arenas. It’s Tissot’s first such sponsorship with a major North American sports league and the largest in the company’s history. Tissot’s other partnerships with international sports leagues include MotoGP, the Superbike World Championship, and FIE fencing.

The tie-up comes as Tissot, a mid-range brand of Swatch Group AG, and other watchmakers are facing mounting competition from smartwatches, most notably Apple Inc.’s Apple Watch. Watch shipments, which make up about 10 percent of Switzerland’s exports, are on pace for the first annual decline in six years. A Tissot representative declined to comment on the size or length of the deal.

As part of the deal, Tissot also becomes the official timekeeper and watch of several marquee league events, including All-Star weekend and the draft. Tissot will advertise across all NBA teams and league broadcast partners. While the partnership begins this week during the NBA’s Global Games, which features six NBA teams playing seven regular-season games and pre-season games in six countries, the league won’t use Tissot’s timing system until the 2016-17 season.

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