The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx announced on Wednesday the hire of Marquise Watts as the organization’s Chief Experience Officer (CXO). In the newly created and first-of-its-kind executive position within the organization, Watts will work across both basketball and business operations with a focus on premier player experience and establishing the organization as a talent destination.
The Timberwolves and Lynx are hiring Marquise Watts, an executive with Klutch Sports Group, to a prominent new Chief Experience Officer role in their organization aimed at redefining the player experience in Minnesota, sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 12, 2022
According to a press release, Watts will bring extensive brand and sports management experience following his time at Under Armour, Adidas, and most recently serving as President of Brand Strategy for Klutch Sports Group.
(Klutch, you say? Interesting!)
“I’m very excited to join the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx organization,” said Watts. “The leadership team here in Minnesota is serious about building a world-class organization. There is much to untap and explore, culturally and experientially for our players and community. This is just the beginning, and there is a lot to look forward to.”
“We look forward to welcoming Marquise to our organization,” said Timberwolves and Lynx CEO Ethan Casson. “His unique background in brand strategy and athlete engagement gives us the opportunity to establish Minnesota as a top tier player destination.”
During his time with Klutch Sports Group, Watts led marketing and corporate partnership efforts, aligning athletes with some of the biggest brands in the world. At Adidas, he oversaw the signings of some of the NBA’s and WNBA’s top players while managing partnerships with the league. Watts played an integral role on the team that launched Under Armour Basketball, leading sports marketing initiatives across multiple audiences.
From my understanding, Watts and Marc Lore have developed a strong relationship since the time Lore first came on board as one of the new owners, so this move has likely been in the works for a while. In addition to making sense and addressing a current need within the organization, don’t overlook the local connection as well — Watts was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wis. and played NCAA D2 basketball at University of Minnesota-Morris. He has deep connections within the Twin Cities will likely look to parlay those into strengthening the overall image of the Timberwolves and Lynx — both locally and nationally.
Last but not least — the Klutch angle. While some may quickly connect this latest hire with the ongoing Ben Simmons situation playing out in Philadelphia (Simmons is obviously represented by Klutch), I personally look at this through more of an Anthony Edwards lens. ANT is also represented by Klutch, and with him eligible for a rookie extension in a few short years, I’d imagine new ownership wants to prioritize having a strong relationship with members (and now former members) of his agency in addition to accomplishing some of the broader goals outlined by this new position.
On behalf of everyone here at Canis Hoopus, we want to extend a warm “welcome back” to Marquise Watts and are excited to see what he can bring to both the Timberwolves and Lynx organizations.