Tuesday night at Staples Center the term “clock management” took on a whole new meaning when Swiss luxury watch brand Hublot was announced as the official timekeeper of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The brief pre-game ceremony -- which involved the presentation of a wristwatch-shaped wall clock to Lakers Executive Vice President Jeanie Buss by Hublot Chief Executive Ricardo Guadalupe at center court -- marks the start of the brand’s five-year sponsorship of the NBA team.
Earlier that day, Guadalupe told All the Rage that the deal, which will eventually include some kind of brand presence at Staples Center, affords Hublot both exposure to an arena full of potential customers and the opportunity to provide Lakers-related perks (things like game seats and player access) to clients of its Beverly Hills boutique.
Aligning itself with high-profile athletes and sports teams has been part of the Hublot strategy for years, Guadalupe explained. “We sponsor Manchester United, FIFA and Usain Bolt,” he said. “In Europe, football -- what you call soccer -- is like basketball is here in terms of popularity with the luxury customer.”
It should be noted that the Lakers aren’t the first NBA team to ink a deal with the Swiss watchmaker -- that trail was blazed back in 2010 when Hublot and the Miami Heat entered a similar sponsorship (Hublot also signed Dwyane Wade as a brand ambassador, an approach it seems likely to duplicate with a key Laker player, though Guadalupe wouldn’t discuss specifics).
And what would happen if the two teams happened to face off against each other in the NBA Finals?
“That would be very good for us,” Guadalupe said, as a not-so-small grin crept across his face.
Fashion throwdown: Dwight Howard vs. Steve Nash