TikTok and Twitch: Engaging the Next Generation of Sports Fans Online

March 2021

This report analyses recent digital trends within social media environment relevant to the Sports industry. Looking at the emerging and already well-established social media platforms, the report examines how Sports and esports properties are shifting and innovating their digital strategies to adapt to changing consumer behavior in the face of pandemic and beyond.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

With accelerated shift towards virtual living, social media and gaming are go-to trends in engaging young consumers

The cancellation of live events has shifted engagement through social media and gaming platforms from a “nice to have” to a necessity, making a comprehensive digital strategy essential. As a result, the sports industry has been increasingly relying on the video-sharing app TikTok and video-streaming platforms Twitch and YouTube to maintain engagement with young consumers around the world.

With customised TikTok content, sports properties have been able to increase their engagement with Gen Z

70% of sports teams in the top five US leagues and five topflight European football leagues are on TikTok. By aggregated following across the league and their teams, NBA, NFL and La Liga are the top three leagues on TikTok, while NFL, La Liga and Premier League engage with their fans on the platform most actively.

TikTok is offering higher follower engagement and tools to monetise it

With its user base projected to continue to grow despite geopolitical headwinds, TikTok has also offered sports properties higher engagement levels from their followers. In addition, TikTok has been investing in enabling advertisers to monetise their activity on the platform through live-streaming and social commerce.

Sports properties increase presence on YouTube to catch up with esports

Sports properties of all sizes, from the Premier League to IPL’s Royal Challengers Bangalore, have significantly grown their followers on YouTube as result of their increased content output, reproducing esports’ already strong presence.

esports attracts fewer fans than traditional sports, but records higher fan engagement

While sports properties tend to have more YouTube followers, esports properties have higher engagement with their fans: top esports teams have on average over 94,000 views per video, compared to 40,500 for traditional sports properties.

Live-streaming function and mobile gaming key to engage with Gen Z

At least one in five Gen Zers live-stream content once a week in nearly all countries where esports are popular. Equally important is mobile gaming among Gen Z, driven by limited device ownership outside the smartphone.

Key findings
Where is the next generation of sports fans?
Cross-platform fluency key to engaging sports fans
TikTok: a platform designed for viral communications attracts sports
2020 catapults TikTok into a global platform
Challenges remain as TikTok faces bans and growing competition
TikTok’ success fuels investment in short-form video entertainment
A potential new player in the world of live sports: Triller
Live-streaming, s-commerce and other TikTok value propositions
TikTok is making moves in the world of esports
TikTok : Filling the void of sports during the lockdown
A growing number of sports teams join TikTok throughout 2020
NFL’s activity on TikTok is rewarded with highest follower growth
Growing following of top sports leagues on TikTok challenges YouTube
TikTok provides a higher likelihood of the right content going viral
From following to engaging: a real challenge for sports brands
Partnerships with TikTok lead to increased fan engagement
Popular commercial partners are turning to TikTok to reach Gen Z
Content strategy for TikTok: attract, engage, enable
The esports and videogaming audience piques industry interest
Fan engagement 2.0: second screen, videogaming and live-streaming
Digital attention is more spread across platforms among esports fans
Esports fans’ behaviours command different engagement strategy
Video-sharing platforms are essential to esports fans
Live-streaming grows beyond traditional geographies and age segments
YouTube ensured exposure during COVID-19 sports lockdowns
Top teams score high on YouTube but look out for booming rivals
Twitch followers’ growth directly relates to competitive performance
Beyond esports on Twitch, there’s a world of videogaming influencers
Tottenham Hotspur: leveraging Twitch beyond esports
Young users are ushering a shift towards mobile gaming
Leveraging esports and streaming platforms
Key takeaways


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