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Published March 23, 2009
Jennifer Storms is a former competitive skier, but even she was daunted by the mogul-sized challenges facing Turner Sports as it took over running the NBA’s digital business before the start of the 2008-09 season.
Storms, senior vice president of marketing and programming for Turner Sports, was responsible for crafting and implementing new marketing and programming plans for NBA.com, NBA TV and NBA League Pass under the strain of a six-month timeline, a dizzying pace even for such a veteran network executive.
“We all felt it was mission impossible in dealing with two global companies in rebranding and relaunching three businesses under NBA Digital,” Storms said. “But Turner and the NBA have a 25-year partnership and that made it easier for us to work together, and now that we look back to when we started, it has been very successful.”
Along with helping transition NBA Digital’s move out of the league’s Secaucus, N.J., office to Turner’s Atlanta headquarters, Storms helped develop unique strategies to generate more interest around the league’s digital assets. For example, fans this season can vote for which games should be broadcast on Tuesday nights on NBA TV.
“She was a key component in coming up with the fan night on Tuesday nights, and it is getting buzz,” said Turner Sports President David Levy. “She is always innovative and forward thinking.”
While Storms, the first female vice president of marketing and programming at Turner Sports, spent the bulk of the past year working on the successful NBA Digital relaunch, she also tended to her other duties in marketing Turner Sports’ Major League Baseball postseason coverage and NASCAR, as well as new media marketing for the PGA of America and the PGA Tour.
“The NBA has been the focus, but there are some gray hairs this year because we still had to come up with other great marketing plans,” Storms said. “But the bumps in the road have been good because it means we are growing, and the response we are getting has been very positive.”
NBA Digital is now fully integrated into the Turner Sports family, but the pace has hardly slowed for Storms as she continually looks for ways to market her network’s properties. Her next major challenge: keeping Turner’s marketing partners satisfied with the network during the economic crisis.
“Our sponsors are more interested in partnering and there is more of a willingness on behalf of partners to talk openly about sharing resources,” Storms said.
It has been a steady climb up the corporate ladder for Storms since she joined Turner in 1995 as the manager of programming. Now, Storms directly manages a staff of 35 people, with indirect responsibility for another 50 employees.
“She has all the leadership skills, she is trustworthy, and she is very thorough,” Levy said.
But it is Storms’ ability to successfully market Turner’s NBA digital business that has cemented her reputation as one of the country’s leading female sports executives.
“She took on the project when we absolutely needed her,” Levy said. “There needed to be a focus on how to market all of NBA Digital with a rethinking on how to market it far differently than in the past. She did an outstanding job in helping us with it and did it while she also did her day job with Turner.”