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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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