TikTok Unveils 2023 Report Detailing Rise in Sports Content

A new report detailing trending sports content on TikTok presents exciting opportunities for creators, fans, and brands alike.

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In an era dominated by social media, TikTok has revolutionized the way we consume content. With its addictive short-form videos and global community, TikTok has become a hub for various trends. Now, the Bytedance platform is reporting a remarkable surge in sports-related content. In their recent report titled “What’s Next: Sports Trend Report“, TikTok highlight the reasons behind this rise.

The full report can be viewed here, but we’ve broken down the key takeaways for you in this article.

Sports fandom finds a new home

Per the research, TikTok credits its “inclusive and dynamic environment” as being the perfect breeding ground for sports fandom. According to the report, 57% of TikTok users now watch sports content on the platform weekly. It’s not just passive consumption either, as over half of TikTok sports fans now actively follow sports accounts. This surge in interest is reflected in the impressive year-on-year video view growth across various sports categories. For instance, hashtags like #football have seen an 86% increase in views, #volleyball by 116%, #basketball a 92% rise, #rugby 91%, and #cricket a 128% growth.

Emerging sports tags like #parkour, #skateboarding, and #freerunning have also gained billions of views.

A goldmine for user-generated content

As we reported earlier in the year, brands and media outlets are consistently turning towards more authentic storytelling via user-generated content. TikTok’s report points out that UGC is growing exponentially within “SportsTok”, too. Whether it’s fan-made edits, a dissection of one sportsperson’s fashion sense, or a guide on what to wear to a basketball match – this type of innovative content is worth its weight in gold. Thanks to the constant innovation by creators, sports content is no longer niche – rather more a part of “everyday culture”.

Content creators often know better than anyone else what their audience wants. That means all of the hard work is virtually already done for brands, who just need to pay creators for their time. That brings us onto…

Riding the sports wave as a brand or business

The surge in sports content on TikTok presents a golden opportunity for businesses to connect with a passionate and engaged audience. TikTok namecheck Lululemon’s NBA Draft activation as a great example of how to intersect a major sporting event with UGC.

The report suggests that like Lululemon, brands should tap into the authenticity and creativity of TikTok’s sports community by leveraging UGC sports content. Moreover, businesses should be cognizant of key events in the sports calendar (“tentpole events”). Strategically running ads around tournaments like the World Cup can really maximize user engagement.

This targeted approach enables brands to establish meaningful connections with sports enthusiasts and drive brand awareness within the TikTok ecosystem.

A new kind of relationship with fans

Traditionally, fans and spectators of sportspeople haven’t had unbridled access to their favorite athletes. Take celebrities – actors and musicians, for example. We’re used to more unfiltered access, and might perhaps feel more like we have a sense of their personalities and interests. That’s changing, though. In the past, especially before the dawn of the internet, you’d usually only hear from sportspeople in broadcast interviews. Failing that, you might read about them in the newspaper and even then, stories usually report on their performance rather than anything personal.

TikTok’s says “the platform rewards more accessible, relatable content” which “ultimately builds stronger connections between athletes [and] audiences”. Their research also found 7 in 10 users think TikTok allows teams and athletes to build stronger relationships with fans.

A new era for sports storytelling

TikTok is also redefining sports storytelling by moving beyond traditional gameplay footage and highlights. This type of reportage typically only “cater[ed] to established fans”, leaving diverse and casual audiences feeling left out of the conversation. On TikTok, however, “the appeal is that every user can find relevant commentary and voices that resonate”.

The report points out that sports coverage “typically started and ended on game day”, but has been given longevity by the platform through fans who create a conversation. This is done either through their own highlights, by creating memes and reactions, and participating in sports-related challenges.

TikTok’s 2023 report showcases the rapid rise of sports trends on the platform, cementing its status as the new hub of sports fandom and engagement.

With an increasing number of users consuming sports content, TikTok offers valuable opportunities for sports enthusiasts, content creators, and businesses alike. Whether you’re seeking advice, inspiration, or simply wanting to connect with a vibrant sports community, TikTok certainly has something for everyone.