76ers Ink Deal With Esports Supplier in Sign of Deepening Ties

Over the past two years, the sports industry has come to view professional video gaming as an opportunity. Owners spent millions buying esports franchises, cable channels began airing tournaments and advertisers rushed to reach young gamers.

Now esports companies are starting to return the favor, with a deal that underscores the new business’ deepening ties to its older, larger brethren.
HyperX, which makes game headsets, keyboards and mice, is becoming a sponsor of the Philadelphia 76ers, the first time a gaming accessories supplier has partnered with an NBA franchise. The company will advertise at the 76ers’ Wells Fargo Center and on the team’s website. The deal also includes Team Dignitas, the esports team purchased last year by the 76ers’ owners.

Team Dignitas will compete and practice using HyperX headsets, keyboards, mice and mousepads, and when a 76ers gaming franchise debuts next year in the newly-formed NBA 2K esports league, players will use HyperX headsets. Financial terms of the partnership weren’t disclosed.

HyperX, a division of Kingston Technology Co., sponsors more than 90 esports teams and 450 gamers, but it’s never never partnered with a traditional sports franchise. The company has traditionally marketed to avid gamers, but is looking now to increase its reach by venturing outside of the cyberworld.

Sixers owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer bought Team Dignitas in September 2016, becoming the first traditional sports ownership group to buy into competitive video gaming. The pair recently folded all of their sports assets, which include the English Premier League team Crystal Palace, the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and Newark’s Prudential Center, into one holding company, called Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment.