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Volume 26 No. 109
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Weekend Plans With Wasserman Exec VP Jennifer Van Dijk

Van Dijk spends plenty of her time away from the office outdoors around L.A. with her two yellow labs
Photo: JENNIFER VAN DIJK
Van Dijk spends plenty of her time away from the office outdoors around L.A. with her two yellow labs
Photo: JENNIFER VAN DIJK
Van Dijk spends plenty of her time away from the office outdoors around L.A. with her two yellow labs
Photo: JENNIFER VAN DIJK

Wasserman Exec VP/Marketing JENNIFER VAN DIJK made her return to the agency a little over a year ago after working for the NBA league office and the Clippers, and she quickly began working on what would become the Athlete Exchange service. That service, which launched last month, serves as a tool to create content for athletes’ social channels. Van Dijk caught up with THE DAILY this week to talk about what she’s been up to since her return to the agency and how she spends her off time.

THINKING BIG: In many ways, athletes are the original influencers, so we quickly came up with the idea that athletes should be sold and packaged the same way and started developing a business model for Athlete Exchange. The core of it was changing the business model. Athletes have brands coming to them all the time. We used proprietary data tools to see what the followers of all our athletes are interested in and we're able to translate that for brands. Athletes are their own media network spaces. If we’re able to work with brands and do unique content through those channels, we can target it at specific audiences.

SEASONAL SCHEDULE: We’re still in the last few summer Fridays, so our office closes at 3:00pm. The Athlete Exchange team has a good number of golfers on it. We’ve been doing afternoon Friday transitions with either a quick nine holes or driving range visit right by the office. I played golf in college. It’s mainly guys on my team that are into it, but we’ve got a couple other women that like to get out and play as well. 

SOCIAL NETWORKING: My wife NANCY and I have a pretty standard and full weekend. I’m a huge fan of L.A. There are always new restaurants opening -- my favorite is Varnish, a speakeasy/cocktail bar. I also like Sweet Chick, a New York chicken and waffles joint, and Joy, a Taiwanese street food place. We do a lot of going out with friends. Where there is a new technology or virtual, immersive or game experience to be had, we’re all for it.

TIME FLIES: We take Saturdays to hike with our two yellow labs. We’ll go to the beach and swim or go hiking for hours trying to wear them out. I’m also an avid drone pilot but hiking with dogs and droning doesn’t go so well together. Sundays are usually spent droning. My wife is a film director, so she runs the camera and I run the drone. I started droning because I wanted to learn how to fly helicopters, so I flew helicopters for a few years as a hobby and then realized it was a little bit too time consuming for my day job, so drones became a more efficient option.

MEDIA SAVVY: We’re always going to a movie on the weekend and watching a new series. A guilty pleasure right now is “Desus & Mero” on Showtime. I just finished “Euphoria” on HBO. Super excited that “Succession” started again. “Book Smart” is the most hilarious coming of age film. “Spiderman: Far From Home” was cool. I think TV might be winning right now. We have all the streaming services, but in rank order I would say HBO, Netflix and Amazon.

LOOKING AHEAD: What interests me the most in the sports and entertainment space is how 5G is going to impact things. There are trends around how to crunch and process data as a means of enhancing broadcasts or personalizing sports experiences and so much promise in augmented reality. But the limiting factor is making it real-time enough for sports.

Know of someone who should be featured in Weekend Plans? Shoot a note over to tleary@sportsbusinessdaily.com.