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Composition, engagement as important as follower count for brands – Wasserman EVP

Leading sports agency Wasserman now sees the geographic and demographic composition of an athlete’s social-media following as more important than its absolute size.

In a sign of the increasing sophistication with which brands are working with athlete influencers, Jennifer van Dijk, Wasserman’s executive vice-president of marketing, said the company spends significantly more time and resources analyzing “who the audience is, rather than the number of them” when trying to secure sponsorship partnerships for their athletes.

Speaking at the Sports Decision Makers Summit in Miami, Van Dijk also noted how social media has created opportunities for more flexible relationships between brands and athletes, with short-term content-focused partnerships rather than long-term endorsement deals. Brands now “lease the athletes rather than buy them”, she explained.