TikTok: The platform of choice for young football fans

Social media platform TikTok is quickly becoming a primary service for reaching young football fans across the world.

TikTok is used to create a variety of short video clips, with millions of users engaging with content every day.

The company continues to grow at a rapid pace, with over 800 million app downloads in 2020, beating rivals such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp in the process.

Football leagues and clubs all over the world have utilised the platform to build their global brands.

Spain’s La Liga has reached 1.9 million followers in a year and a half of activity, with the demographic of this audience notably young.

“Our followers are young people (mostly part of Generation Z) from all over the world, people who want to discover content that they will not find anywhere else,” Alfredo Bermejo, director of digital strategy at La Liga, told the La Liga Newsletter.

“Everything we post is specially designed for this audience with the aim of entertaining them and creating engagement. We want them to know that following La Liga on TikTok is to consume content from the best league in the world.”

Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are the two most followed clubs on TikTok and have increased the profile of football on the service, but creating campaigns that global audiences have engaged with has been just as effective.

“We have created two of the biggest and most successful (social media) challenges in the history of TikTok,” Bermejo explained.

“Every week there are new trends that we pay attention to in order to remain an active part of the community.”

A recent initiative encouraged followers of the La Liga TikTok account to replicate the different goal celebrations of players in the competition.

Videos were posted with the hashtag #ViveLaLiga, with Bermejo revealing the campaign earned over 63 million views and trended in 21 countries.

These types of figures offered an added value for La Liga’s global partners, including Puma and Santander.

Soraya Castellanos Hidalgo, partnerships manager of TikTok in Spain, believes initiatives like this showcase where the social media platform thrives.

“Our mission is to inspire and offer our community a space for creative expression and a fun and positive experience with an enormous diversity of content,” she said.

Other La Liga content on their TikTok account is made attractive by a strong use of music, alongside an informal tone for the most part.

Bermejo explained that for the emerging young audience, all the content related to the league’s clubs, from training sessions to the way the players are dressed, is vital to make an impression.

“TikTok has allowed us to get closer to Generation Z and thus understand the tastes and preferences that these fans have today,” he stated.

“This also helps us to analyse what the fan of the future will be like.”

A new fan’s first contact with football “is likely not a 90-minute televised match, but a video with highlights and music on TikTok, or with images of player challenges during training,” Bermejo claimed.

Sevilla FC has used TikTok since June of 2019 and now has over 275,000 followers on the social media site.

The club emphasised that posts on this social network feel genuine and is a major reason why the platform is the global service of choice for a younger demographic.

“The change we’ve noticed is the way that the content published is natural, much more real and less edited, plus it is generated directly on the mobile phone,” explained the club’s social media manager, José Ángel Risco.

“Consumption is a lot quicker as the users want to see something that lasts 15 to 20 seconds maximum,” he added.

“It’s becoming a social network that also feeds other platforms such as Twitter or YouTube, especially with videos that go viral. There are differences in the tone that we don’t have on channels such as Twitter or Facebook.

“Those who follow us on TikTok are a lot younger. We’re trying to connect with users who are interested in sport and in football through a tone that isn’t as focussed on the up-to-the-minute sports news.”

TikTok continues to build on its momentum as a social media phenomenon for young people, with football fans no exception.

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Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Brisbane Roar and AQUAME boost optimal hydration

Brisbane Roar and AQUAME

Brisbane Roar is collaborating with leading Australian water bottle developer AQUAME to provide their squads with high-tech water bottles.

AQUAME is a high-tech water bottle offering UVC sanitation, drink reminders, and real-time tracking, all guided by an AI-enhanced app for optimal hydration.

AQUAME’s AI-enhanced phone application enables users to see statistics regarding their hydration, with historical data and personalised coaching options to help guide users towards informed daily health decisions.

The device has been used and approved by Socceroos legend Archie Thompson and Melbourne City FC forward Andrew Nabbout, with the sports water bottle company moving into the football corporate world after recent growth.

Brisbane Roar CEO Kaz Patafta mentioned the importance the club puts on maximising player performance.

“We are proud to partner with AQUAME and believe these high-tech water bottles will greatly contribute to player wellbeing on and off the pitch. As a club we strive to see players have the best products at their fingertips to perform their best. We look forward to growing this partnership with AQUAME,” Patafta said via media release.

Founder of AQUAME Steve Aidun Xie spoke on the large market that this partnership with the A-League club provides for technology in sport.

“We are thrilled to partner with Brisbane Roar, a significant milestone in revolutionising the role of data in modern sports. In today’s competitive sporting landscape, the understanding and optimisation of athlete hydration remain underexplored. Our collaboration is set to bridge this gap by leveraging cutting-edge technology to collect vital hydration data,” Xie added.

“This partnership is more than just an alliance; it’s a step towards filling a crucial void in sports tech by integrating effective hydration plans into athletes’ routines. The insights gained from working with a professional club like Brisbane Roar are invaluable. They will be instrumental in refining our new hydration analysis software, designed to empower sporting clubs globally,” Xie continued.

“This tool will not only analyse but also illuminate how precise hydration planning can elevate athletes to their peak performance. We are excited to be at the forefront of this groundbreaking development, contributing to enhanced athletic achievements and wellbeing.”

Brisbane Roar have a focus with this partnership to positively impact player performance for both the men’s and women’s sides through high quality technological equipment, with AQUAME specifically focusing on the players receiving acute hydration.

FC Barcelona reach Latin American fans with Rappi

FC Barcelona and Rappi

FC Barcelona added Latin American home-delivery service Rappi to its existing group of partners, in what is being described as a hugely beneficial moment for fans in the region.

The current two-and-half year deal is a part of FC Barcelona’s continued brand expansion in the Americas, meeting several of its commercial targets as it asserts itself as one of the world’s leading sports brands.

Football is not new territory for home-delivery company Rappi. They actively sponsor several men’s and women’s football clubs across Central and South America, which has helped achieve its current status as one of the leading home-delivery services in the region.

This status as one of Latin America’s leading technology brands is evidenced by its mobile service that connects customers to food and e-commerce products and delivers them to homes within 10 minutes.

FC Barcelona Marketing Area Vice-President, Juli Guiu, highlighted the deal will be a win for Barca fans in Latin America.

“Through this partnership with Rappi, we are boosting our privileged position in this region and helping to improve the fan experience by connecting with them via imaginative, disruptive actions that drive emotions and empathy,” he said in a statement.

Astrid Mirkin, Chief Marketing Officer of Spanish Markets and Head of Brand/Sponsorships at Rappi, elaborated further on Guiu’s comments regarding fan experience.

“With Rappi becoming the exclusive delivery partner of FC Barcelona in Latin America, we will significantly improve the experiences of both the Rappi customer and the FC Barcelona fan at a key consumption moment,” Mirkin added via press release.

“This partnership with FC Barcelona will allow customers to receive additional special offers during games and drive additional orders to our merchants and couriers.”

FC Barcelona will provide Rappi with LED hoardings at the Olympic Stadium and its spiritual home, Camp Nou, when its renovation is completed. Further benefits for the company come in the shape of hospitality packages and brand association with the Barca Legends team.

Inter-continental relationships, particularly between European football clubs and non-European companies, offer substantial economic benefits that can enrich its impact on both football and society.

In addition, fans across the globe not only benefit from exclusive offers in their region, but get a deeper connection to clubs they support from afar.

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