NBA today announced that Ralph Rivera, an accomplished media and sports executive with more than three decades of experience, has been appointed Managing Director of NBA Europe and Middle East (NBA EME). Rivera, who begins with the NBA on Jan. 2, will be based in the league’s London office and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.
As Managing Director, Rivera will oversee the league’s basketball and business development throughout Europe and the Middle East and will be supported by the region’s senior leadership team to continue to grow the popularity of basketball.
Rivera was most recently the Managing Director at Eurosport Digital with Discovery Communications, where he was responsible for leading their digital business, including the sports website, Eurosport.com and over-the-top (OTT) sports platform, Eurosport Player.
Prior to Discovery Communications, Rivera spent six years as Director at BBC Digital, where he oversaw and led the transformation of BBC’s digital presence, increasing BBC’s online reach to 40 million people and making the BBC iPlayer the top OTT video service in the United Kingdom. He also previously served as President at Major League Gaming, and spent 10 years at AOL as Senior Vice President and General Manager for Games and International Programming.
“Ralph’s extensive experience in leading prominent media and sports companies make him well-suited to oversee the league’s operations in Europe and the Middle East,” said Tatum. “We are looking forward to working with Ralph to help take basketball and the NBA to even greater heights throughout the region.”
“It is an honor to join the NBA at a time when the league has never been more popular,” said Rivera. “I am excited to work with our partners to explore new ways to reach and engage basketball fans in Europe and the Middle East and increase the number of young boys and girls playing the game.”
Rivera joined Discovery in 2016 and was responsible for rebuilding Eurosport Digital’s direct-to-consumer business. He directed teams across Europe and expanded Eurosport’s sports coverage, launching new premium sports rights partnerships for the 2018 Winter Olympics, Bundesliga and Lega Basket Serie A. Under his leadership, Eurosport Digital relaunched the Eurosport Player, expanding the reach of the OTT sports platform to 69 countries and territories in 14 languages and increasing subscribers to the service by six times to more than 1.3 million, and making it the No. 1 Pan-European sport OTT service.
Rivera holds an MBA in finance and international business from New York University, Stern School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Columbia University. Rivera served on the BBC Executive Board, the BBC Children in Need Board, and on the Imperial College Data Science Institute Advisory Board.