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TikTok, a short-form video social network owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has become wildly popular among Gen Z. It was the third-most downloaded app in the United States in the first quarter of this year.
At the same time, football appears to be losing ground with younger demographics as they watch less and less network television. Young people are also playing less of the sport because of head injuries, among other reasons, according to a Morning Consult report from last fall. As a result, NFL has announced a collaboration with the up-and-coming social network. With the partnership, the NFL has launched its own TikTok account.
Right after the debut, the account had 12 posts. One post, showing San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin scoring a touchdown, had the caption “He and his wife lost their baby son hours before the game . . . That day, Marquise Goodwin scored an 83-yard touchdown, his first of the season.” The post quickly gained 2 million “hearts” from TikTok users.
According to TikTok, the NFL’s content will include highlights, sideline moments, and behind-the-scenes footage. The companies would not disclose financial terms or specifically how the partnership agreement would work but said it centers on NFL content on TikTok.
The organizations will also launch NFL-themed hashtag “challenges,” which encourage TikTok users to share videos on a certain theme or following a certain meme format, similar to Chipotle’s popular “Lid Flip Challenge,” which asked users to flip the lid of their burrito bowl at the restaurant and share an image on social.
In the near future, the NFL will be running a three-day #WeReady hashtag challenge campaign to ask TikTok users to show their fandom for their favorite teams as part of the NFL’s 100th season marketing campaign. The NFL is working with TikTok content creators and NFL clubs to create posts as part of the campaign.
In a statement, NFL Vice President of Digital Media Business Development Blake Stuchin called TikTok a “natural extension” of its media strategy, because it reaches a “fast-growing global audience of NFL fans and future fans.”
TikTok also said it would be partnering on “unique marketing opportunities for brands to activate around NFL content on TikTok.” However, what those opportunities exactly are has not been revealed by the company.
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