Why TikTok Will Revolutionise The Sports Industry
Everything digital has been fast-forwarded by the pandemic, and the perception of sports events across the world has changed as well, writes Anupam Gupta, Chief Product Officer at Mediaocean.
With social distancing measures making in-person events impossible across the board, we’ve now become accustomed to empty stadiums and pubs. This has led to the establishment of those second screen and digital approaches that were already taking off before the pandemic. In this new landscape, brands and sports businesses alike have also needed to evolve and adapt.
At first glance, the recently-announced partnership between TikTok and UEFA might seem like an odd one. However, if you look at the context of the bigger 2021 picture, it makes perfect sense. Today, entertainment and re-creating experiences at a distance are at the centre of the stage, with the likes of TikTok enabling all fans to participate remotely and react in real time.
The new summer of sport
UEFA is bracing for a transcontinental and socially-distanced tournament. This means that its continental confederation is going to have to find way of bringing the experience to life remotely, and the new TikTok partnership seems to be one their main tactics.
Stadiums are most likely going to be empty when matches kick off in June, so this new partnership is extremely significant. This summer, TikTok will offer its own experience to fans. TikTok’s audience is also very distinct, so it’s clear that UEFA is looking for more opportunities to connect directly to a new generation of sports fans made up of a younger, always connected demographic.
TikTok’s platform can truly maximise fan engagement, and extend the Euros experience across the board this summer. Ultimately, this will allow the UEFA to orchestrate a seamless experience across channels between the older and younger generations of sport fans, this summer and going forward.
Big experiences on the small screen
During the past few years, social media has become one of the most valuable assets for sports, and 2020 has allowed these platforms to truly cement their role in the industry.
Social media have truly been helping sports as a way of broadening the conversation. Unlike apps such as YouTube and Facebook, TikTok’s sixty-second videos do not enable the capturing all the action of a full match. And unlike “companion” apps that encourage debates on the game, TikTok’s rapid-fire structure resembles channel-hopping more than a discussion about the match.
Twitter is the “companion” app par excellence, enhancing and extending the TV experience for avid sports fans. Meanwhile, TikTok users can start and end their experience entirely on one, separate screen. In fact, TikTok’s unique selling point is its mass approach to content, which makes it closer to being a TV replacement than any other social platform out there.
TikTok enables the extension of the experience of sports events like the Euros from the big to the small screen, and maximises fan interaction. Additionally, as teams seek brand status, partnerships with the likes of TikTok will drive engagement with new sports audiences.
Behind closed doors
We need to always bear in mind that tournaments like the Euros aren’t just sports anymore. They bring together people from all walks of life, sharing many different kinds of experience. And this is something TikTok excels at.
Television has always created shared social moments – history is filled with global sports events that cross borders and engage people like no other events. If they play their cards right, marketers and advertisers can leverage the likes of the Euros to effectively reach big audiences at once.
However, as these events take place behind closed doors, brands have really been feeling the pressure of bringing games to life with experiences that replicate the live energy that everyone has been used to. In practice, that has meant honing in on the second screen and digital-first approaches.
Ultimately, TikTok represents a big opportunity for brand marketers, who can take advantage of the platform to connect and bring their campaigns to life. As the industry has had to adapt and evolve, partnerships with platforms like TikTok can really help brands seamlessly bring big experiences to life on small screens for events taking place behind closed doors during the 2021 summer of sports and beyond.