Kate Jhaveri was only six months into her role as chief marketing officer of the NBA when the league was canceled due to COVID-19. With no new games, people were less focused on seeking out NBA content, forcing the league to pivot to continue to draw attention.
Leveraging its network of influencers and players, the NBA explored online gaming, releasing trivia campaigns with players on social media and partnering with platforms such as Twitch for the NBA 2K Draft. It was a natural move for Jhaveri, who is no stranger to tech and gaming as the former CMO of Twitch and a marketer at Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft.
Jhaveri also took the lead on the NBA’s coronavirus campaigns. NBA Together offered daily, cross-platform content to help the league’s audience stay safe from COVID-19. The NBA also raised over $100 million to support arena staff and purchase PPE for frontline workers in the early days of the pandemic.
As the NBA has become a force in culture, its players have become more political. As the league reconvened to finish its season in the fall of 2020, it faced backlash for players' public support of the Black Lives Matter movement following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, which included calls to boycott viewing the games.