Why TikTok offers so much potential for rightsholders

Sports now have no choice but to embrace TikTok or face losing the battle for online attention

Reading time: 3 minutes

If you’ve ever fallen down a TikTok rabbit hole, you’ll know just how much influence this social media platform can wield. The average TikTok user spends almost an hour a day scrolling through the app – making TikTok a hugely valuable marketing tool and offering rightsholders appealing opportunities to use it as an additional channel for pre-existing partners.

Especially with the GenZ, sport clubs and brands need to reach the target group where they are active. They have to ensure to engage on eye-level and understand what this generation is looking for, if they want to succeed.

Young target group on TikTok

The Gen Z target group (aged between 14 and 21) is of great relevance to rights holders, and TikTok is by far the most effective way to reach them. In other words, rights holders can use this platform to create brand awareness and a digital communications channel with their community. These activities focus on the faces of well-known individual athletes, in particular, who generally have a greater reach than the clubs or brands behind them. This is because TikTok users set great store by personalisation. Instead of the standard clips of matches, they prefer personal insights or challenges posted by well-known players. 

These are the TikTok user

Sports is booming on TikTok

Last year, TikTok accounts held by sports leagues saw the greatest growth, ahead of other sectors like news, streaming, TV or entertainment. Individual sports teams were able to identify this positive development at the start of the year, boosting their monthly content output by 63%, on average. With its strong positioning as an entertainment platform and a highly engaged, young audience keen to discover the next big thing, TikTok is the perfect channel for rights holders in the sports industry. 

High marketing potential through full attention for content

TikTok’s recommendations system ensures that the discovery element is personally tailored to every user’s interest and interaction – making it possible to reach a highly specific, engaged target group.

The TikTok algorithm displays content that isn’t based on who users follow, but rather on the content that particularly appeals to them and that they can identify with. In other words, every user is shown the content that suits them, allowing them to give their full attention to their feed and focus their attention on it.

The fact that 75% of TikTok users don’t just use the app to quickly update themselves on what’s going on and instead spend a lengthy amount of time scrolling through these micro-videos plays right into the hand of anyone posting content. 

Sports and fitness contents are winners

83% of sports fans on TikTok like watching sport or fitness brands or sportspeople taking part in TikTok trends or challenges. 47% have even bought a product after seeing sports content on TikTok. Advertising shown to users in their TikTok feed is 23% more effective than TV advertising, and 14% more effective than in other digital videos. This clearly illustrates the major marketing potential offered by TikTok, at least for younger target groups, with Borussia Dortmund, for example, using TikTok to advertise its streetwear collection. 

Cooperation with sports organizations 

That said, TikTok isn’t just offering a platform for stakeholders in the sports sector: it’s also getting involved itself. Building on the collaboration at the Men’s Euros, TikTok recently announced that it’s going to sponsor the Women’s Euros this year, too. In so doing, the social media platform is aiming to provide the football community with a virtual pitch where fans can come together to follow the competition, regardless of where they’re based or what team they support. Alongside this, the plan is to launch exciting features, including challenges, TikTok lives and sounds. 

Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA’s Marketing Director: ‘We’re delighted to be working with TikTok again, this time for the biggest UEFA women’s EURO of all time. TikTok’s football community, comprising teams, fans, makers and clubs, is constantly growing. We’re delighted to be using unique, creative content to showcase the summer’s most important sports event with some of the best female footballers in the world. It’s an exciting time to be a football fan.’

Future of TikTok in Sports 

Growing numbers of teams and brands from the sports industry have discovered TikTok for themselves. And athletes are also expanding their accounts on the platform to support their marketing. It looks like this trend is not going anywhere any time soon. On the contrary: we will see even more content being brought to the platform in the near future. TikTok is likely not going to be a flash in the pan but will rather become a core component of the marketing strategies pursued by rightsholders and sports brands. 

"TikTok’s football community, comprising teams, fans, makers and clubs, is constantly growing. It’s an exciting time to be a football fan."


Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA’s Marketing Director

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