Gucci Marketing Boss Kalvaria Joining Fanatics Betting Unit

Estimated read time 3 min read

Selena Kalvaria is trading in couture for betting as she recently joined Fanatics Betting & Gaming as chief marketing officer (CMO) following a three-year run in a similar capacity at Italian fashion house Gucci.

Former Gucci executive Selena Kalvaria. She’s now chief marketing officer for Fanatics Betting & Gaming. (Image: TVNewsCheck)

The Wall Street Journal broke the news earlier Wednesday. Kalvaria most recently served as senior vice president of brand and client engagement for Gucci’s Americas business. Her LinkedIn profile indicates she joined Fanatics’ betting arm last month and contains no prior gaming experience. She started her career in 2008 with Credit Suisse as an associate in the bank’s international equities trading department.

Kalvaria joins Fanatics at a pivotal time. The privately held company, which made its name in sports apparel and merchandised, is a relatively  new entrant to the worlds of US iGaming and sports wagering. While the company, valued at $31 billion in private markets last year, has solid financial resources and stout brand recognition due to its ubiquitous “officially licensed everything” slogan, it’s struggled to gain big market share in the states in which it offers betting.

That’s not necessarily an indictment of Fanatics because every other company in the US online sports wagering arena has struggled to threaten the duopoly held by DraftKings and FanDuel, but it does say anyone in Kalvaria’s shoes has their work cut out for them.

Kalvaria Could Bring More Women Bettors Into Fanatics Fold

The former Gucci arrived at Fanatics Betting & Gaming at a time when data indicate women are wagering more on sports, particularly women’s sports.

Women have long been overlooked by sportsbook operators, but that’s changing and the catalysts are there for more growth due to the increasing popularity of the WNBA and women’s college athletics. With its status as apparel company with dedicated lines for women, Fanatics is already familiar to scores of female sports fans.

There’s a huge intersection between female athletes and sports and fashion, and we have a huge commerce business,” Kalvaria told Katie Deighton of the Journal.

However, it remains to be seen if a female executive hire is the way to appeal to more women bettors and compel them to make their bets with Fanatics.

Important Tasks Ahead of Kalvaria

Kalvaria also joined Fanatics at a time when online betting companies are confronting the specter of rising taxes in some states. The primary avenue for mitigating that hit to profits is to pare marketing and promotional spending, implying Fanatics’ new chief marketing officer may need to get creative when it comes luring new clients.

Additionally, Kalvaria will contend with different consumer demands and demographics at Fanatics Betting & Gaming than what she saw at Gucci.

High-end fashion designers standout from rivals on external basis. Making accessories and clothing that appear unique and fashion-forward is a recipe for success in that industry and a way to foster brand loyalty. In sports betting, it’s more about technology and how an operator stands out on that front. If Kalvaria can make inroads there, Fanatics may be able to mount a credible long-term challenge to DraftKings and FanDuel.

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