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MLB players partner with social media marketing firm Influential

Influential’s AI-powered IBM Watson technology to pair players with partner brands.

18 February 2022 Rory Jones

Getty Images

  • Athlete influencers can deliver 63% more engagement than other social content creators
  • Deal provides MLB stars access to Influential’s roster of Fortune 500 clients

MLB Players, the business subsidiary of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), has struck a partnership with social media marketing agency Influential.

The deal allows 1,200 MLB players to secure branded content partnerships with Influential’s host of Fortune 500 clients, including the likes of Ford, Pepsi and McDonald’s.

The firm’s bespoke social intelligence platform, powered by IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology, will connect players with a variety of prospective partner brands. Influential will also provide players with access to data insights across social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.

The deal is intended to allow MLB stars to develop their own personal brands and launch branded content campaigns.

According to data technology firm Nielsen, athlete influencers can deliver 63 per cent more engagement than other social media content producers through marketing campaigns.

For Influential, the deal expands its work in US major league sport, where it has partnerships with the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA).

“This partnership provides our members with the tools they need to understand the value of their digital profiles and impact,” said Evan Kaplan, managing director of MLB Players.

“Access to Influential’s robust technology platforms will also help players generate meaningful brand partnerships.”

Ryan Detert, chief executive of Influential, added: “Branded content deals on social media are a multibillion-dollar business.

“We are very excited to partner with MLB Players, Inc. to give thousands of major league players the data, technology, and deal flow to monetise their name, image, and likeness.

“Over the years, we’ve had successful partnerships with the NFL and NBA, and have activated millions of dollars in NIL deals for student athletes. We can’t wait to bring the same opportunities to both MLB players and our brand partners.”

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