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Volume 23 No. 17
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Kristen Salvatore, Twitch

Photo: Jeff Singer / S7
Photo: Jeff Singer / S7
Photo: Jeff Singer / S7

Kristen Salvatore believes video games are a vehicle to bring together cultures and improve the world. And she thinks brand partners can help.

Kristen Salvatore

Vice President and Commercial Director, Twitch
Born: Passaic, N.J.
Education: B.A., Bryn Mawr College; M.A., Columbia University

That altruistic belief in her job, combined with the rapidly growing deal sizes in esports, makes Twitch’s top sponsorship sales executive a person to watch closely as competitive gaming continues to make its way into the mainstream. Salvatore and Twitch sit at the center of the esports world, selling access to some of the most devoted, deeply engaged audiences in the world that have yet to be recreated on any number of streaming competitors.

“I find it genuinely rewarding too because I can say, ‘Everybody, come to the party,’” said Salvatore, who started out as a journalist, rising to become editor-in-chief of PC Gamer in 2007, before moving on to become director of brand strategy at game developer BioWare and App Store business manager for games at Apple.

Under Salvatore, Twitch has developed into a sponsorship emporium of sorts, handling sales on behalf of teams, publishers and tournaments along with selling its own inventory at events around the world and connected to its original content. Its Amazon ownership puts Salvatore and her team in the unusual position of offering both the media platform for esports and a retail sales channel, allowing them to offer real business-driving assets that are still hard to find in the mostly digital world of gaming.

Her credo, written both on a water-stained orange Post-it note in her office and her LinkedIn page: “Help people. Make cool stuff. Help people make cool stuff.”

— Ben Fischer

Getting to know...

Attribute I look for when hiring: Flexibility — a natural tendency to go over, under, around or through to solve a problem.
Networking works best when:
I engage people in a discussion about all the ways video games make the world better.
Misperception of working in sports:
That “esports” is synonymous with “a game.” Esports is actually a form of competition, applied to many different games, each with its own players and fans.
Proudest professional achievement:
Working with Team Liquid to solidify an incredible working relationship as their exclusive sponsorship representation.
Woman in sports business I’d like to meet:
Becky Hammon is breaking barriers with grace and aplomb.
I wish I’d known at my career’s start:
It’s OK to say, “I don’t know, I’ll get back to you on that.” … There’s power in the honesty of owning both what you know and what you still need to learn.