Kristen Gambetta ’05, a sport industry executive with a history of success, has accepted a position with the global ecommerce brand Rakuten as its Director of Sports and Entertainment.
Gambetta, who currently lives in San Francisco, studied Kinesiology and Sport Management while at Rice University. She was also a member of the varsity soccer team as well as the track team.
After graduation, Gambetta worked for the Houston Dynamo under a host of titles from 2006-15 proving she was an invaluable asset. Realizing her skills, Esurance offered her a position, in 2015, as Brand Partnerships Manager. There she managed brand partnership strategy, launched integrated marketing campaigns, and worked to create awareness across national and regional partnership opportunities. During this time, Esurance received a nomination for “Sports Sponsor of the Year” from the Sports Business Journal.
The skills that were enhanced while working for Esurance proved useful when she accepted the position of Director of Sports and Entertainment with Rakuten in 2018. Rakuten is a Japanese electronic commerce and internet company based in Tokyo. They are a global company that is now focusing their efforts in the Americas. This is where Gambetta comes in. She is responsible for the Americas region of their sports entertainment partnerships.
“My main objective is to help make Rakuten a household brand in the United States,” Gambetta said. “We work across all our partnership properties to make sure we are maximizing them and telling our brand story through the partnerships and reinforcing who we are, what we stand for, and what we do.”
She also loves the challenge that comes with establishing the Rakuten brand in America. One of her favorite parts of her job is that she can see the direct impact and the strides that Rakuten is taking as a global company.
Rakuten is the primary jersey partner of FC Barcelona which provides Rakuten with perhaps the world’s most visible sponsorship. This past summer, Gambetta was involved in activating the Rakuten brand when she attended the International Champions Cup in Dallas where FC Barcelona faced AS Roma. In addition, Rakuten is also the jersey sponsor for the Golden State Warriors.
Gabrielle Stanton, a senior from Houston, Texas, is majoring in Sport Management and minoring in Business.