NBA Poaches Twitch Exec for CMO Role

Kate Jhaveri will start Aug. 15

Headshot of Kate Jhaveri
Jhaveri will start her new position at the NBA in mid-August.
Courtesy of the NBA

Twitch’s CMO Kate Jhaveri is taking her talents to the NBA, stepping into the league’s chief marketing role, replacing Pam El (a former Adweek 50 recipient), who retired last year.

According to an announcement, Jhaveri will run point on all marketing operations for the NBA, NBA G League (which is a league sponsored by Gatorade) and NBA 2K League, including campaigns and brand messaging across all platforms. 

Since Jhaveri doesn’t start until mid-August, she was not available for comment. However, in a press statement, Jhaveri said: “I am thrilled to join the NBA and bring my experiences in both digital and traditional marketing to develop new and innovative ways to continue the global growth of the league. The NBA has an incredibly passionate fanbase, and I look forward to utilizing their perspectives to best drive our strategic direction.”

A spokesperson from Twitch confirmed Jhaveri is staying on until mid-August and the company intends to backfill the CMO role. “Kate has been a hugely valuable member of Twitch’s leadership team,” said the rep. “We’re grateful for all her contributions and wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

Her time at the live-streaming platform could be a signal of the NBA’s “strategic direction,” looking at options to complement or even supplement the league’s nine-year $24 billion tv deal with ABC, ESPN and TNT, which is set to expire after the 2024-25 season.

Indeed, a couple of years ago, NBA league commissioner Adam Silver was looking at how to make sports more like video games. Or as Recode wrote, “specifically, make them look like Twitch, Amazon’s platform for live gaming, which features a blizzard of live stats and a steady stream of chatter from gamers watching the event in real time.”

Beyond Twitch, Jhaveri comes to the NBA with a Silicon Valley pedigree, working for a who’s who of tech companies—from Facebook to Twitter to Microsoft. And for a league that has a pretty strong social game, hiring a tech exec to run point makes sense. She’ll bring that knowledge to a league that has reams of data on consumer insights and analytics, and turn that data into marketing strategies. 

 “Kate is an industry leader who has an excellent record in creating successful marketing strategies for some of the most renowned companies in the world,” said NBA deputy commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum in a statement. “We are looking forward to adding Kate to our team and having her lead our marketing efforts to further reach and engage our global fanbase.”

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