ESPN Hires Somaya as Global Data Officer

Former Weather executive will use info from fans to improve marketing effectiveness
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Just as teams and fans are embracing advanced statistics to make decisions about players and strategy, ESPN has hired a global data officer to take advantage of the information it has about its sports-loving viewers.

Vikram Somaya will be a senior VP and CDO at ESPN, reporting to Ed Erhardt, president, global sales and marketing. Somaya had been general manager of The Weather Company’s AdFX unit, which uses analytics and predictive marketing to help marketers take advantage of data about climate changes and product sales.

At ESPN, Somaya will lead data strategy, identify revenue models and push new sales strategies based on the first-party information the network has about its viewers.

That data will also be used to improve the cross-platform campaigns ESPN mounts for its advertisers.

"Vikram is a forward-thinking executive who has terrific vision to enhance and unlock the power of what our fans share with us,” said Erhardt. “He will help drive data in new ways as we challenge traditional thinking to expand the role it can play in growing content usage and increasing marketing effectiveness. Vikram’s insight and expertise in the fast-changing ad-tech arena, married to our data strategy, will provide value and return on investment for our advertising partners.”

Earlier Wednesday, Weather Company said it hired Domenic Venuto from media agency VivaKi to run AdFX.