Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe Photo: Wasserman

Sports and entertainment agency Wasserman is launching a new partnership with advertising agency Giant Spoon to bring companies the ability to leverage the followings of individual athletes for social marketing, as opposed to sponsoring a specific team or sporting event.

The latest: The partnership kicks off today in Los Angeles with a co-branded "Off the Court Summit" featuring Olympians, professional athlete, marketers, and sports executives. 

  • The digital marketplace created by Wasserman, called the "Athlete Exchange," will be used by Giant Spoon moving forward to help the agency's big-name brand clients, which range from companies like GE to MassMutual, tap into the followings of athletes big and small. 

Why it matters: It's a significant step in helping to elevate athletes as individual influencers, apart from their teams.

  • In the past, lesser-known athletes were less likely to be sponsored, even if their interests or mission were aligned with that of a certain brand.
  • For example, a company that cares about veterans issues can use data from Wasserman's data file of 1800 athletes to identify an athlete that may be a veteran and have a strong social following of people that care about veterans issues. 
  • "This is a court-side seat for brands into sports, culture, and the audiences that surround it," says Laura Correnti, Partner at Giant Spoon.

The big picture: Sports marketing can be expensive, especially if a brand wants to align themselves with a high-profile team or player.

  • Marketers spent $10.3 billion on sports advertising on TV in the US in 2017, and $3 billion on TV playoff advertising across the four major sports leagues in 2018. But over $17 billion is currently allocated to endorsement deals, with 70% of those dollars going to the top 100 athletes. 

The bottom line: "Athletes are more engaging and reach more fans than ever before, yet are currently underutilized in the digital marketing space,” says Jennifer van Dijk, Executive Vice President, Athlete Exchange at Wasserman. 

Go deeper: The power of social media influencers is shrinking

Go deeper

10 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.