WNBA Hires Former Nike Executive as First CMO

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For the first time, the WNBA has its own chief marketing officer. Phil Cook, who has worked extensively with female athletes during his tenure at Nike, will develop the WNBA’s distinct brand while driving revenue and engaging fans across social platforms.

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In his new position, Cook will also focus on redefining the WNBA as a staple of progressive entertainment and social justice. This summer, the league showed its support for the Black Lives Matter movement by wearing Breonna Taylor’s name on their jerseys. WNBA players have also gotten attention off the court by partnering with Glossier on a campaign that celebrated the beauty of diverse bodies.

“The quality of play on-court has never been higher, while the relevance and support of the athletes off the court has attracted a growing consumer base for the league to serve,” Cook said in a statement. “I’m excited to bring my long history of marketing world-class athletes, teams and leagues to the WNBA to inspire and grow the women’s game around the globe.”

Cook will also work closely with NBA evp and CMO Kate Jhaveri to continue to develop a strong online army of basketball superfans and influencers through consumer analytics and data strategy. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said she is looking forward to working with Cook during the league’s historic 25th season.

“Phil Cook’s ability to tell powerful player stories, connect to young consumers and build culturally relevant brands makes him an ideal fit for the WNBA as we build on our brand identity and overall momentum for the league,” she said in a statement.

It’s been a busy year in both social justice efforts and business partnerships for the WNBA. AT&T was forced to reimagine its partnership with the league in the Covid-19 landscape by supporting players within their quarantine “wubble.” The league made it clear that the fight for justice knows no off-season, partnering with merchandise company Phenomenal and releasing a powerful campaign that encouraged fans to vote in the presidential election.

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