TikTok, the newest digital platform to secure its place in football

TikTok official partner of UEFA Euro 2020 football tournament

In our first blog we explored how media was produced through 3 main forms, print media, radio and tv, in past decades. These media outlets, especially television, have been the catalyst for the vast expansions of audiences and capital injections leading to a broader range of broadcasting formats (Hutchins and Rowe, 2009).

In this blog post I will be extracting what digital and new media actually means and how it differs from traditional media as well as the similarities between them. Furthermore, I will be exploring one of the latest social media platforms to take the world by storm, TikTok, and how football is utilising its exponential growth.

Digital media and why its ‘new’

Digital technologies can be categorised as any electronic tool that allows for activities such as social networking, blogging, vlogging, gaming, instant messaging, downloading music and other content,
uploading and sharing their own creations, and collaborating with others in various ways (James, 2009). There are five main types of new, digital media but the one that I will be focusing on within this blog is collective participatory media, which refers to the social media platforms that we all know and use today (McQuail and Deuze, 2020). Because this new media is digitalised, it allows for a new portable, complex yet dynamic network of communication that gives users access 24/7. Furthermore, due to the dynamic communication characteristic of digital media, it enables consumers to interact not only with the author but also one another in a way that traditional media couldn’t delivery, hence the ‘participatory’ title.

What more, because we as consumers have greater access to content at any time, we also have greater autonomy in which source we choose to consume our content and therefore the use of numerous platforms is competitive yet complementary (Gantz and Lewis, 2014). New media has a priceless characteristic of making consumers constantly be in touch without physically being present and a feature that traditional mass media communication doesn’t uphold due to it being a more one-directional tool (Tomlinson, 2007; McQuail and Deuze, 2020).

The rise of TikTok and its association with football

Since the early 2000’s, there has been a development of the original internet, Web 1.0, to, you guessed it, Web 2.0. The Web 1.0 was a traditional web page where an email could be sent, or a link could be clicked. Whereas, the rise of Web 2.0 is a lot more than just your ordinary webpage. Popular sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter emerged in Web 2.0 which were designed to purposely introduce new levels of interaction and other sociological factors such as friends, groups and likes (Lindgren, 2017).

The latest site to expand Web 2.0 is a social media platform called TikTok. The app allows users to watch, discover and create personalised short videos (TikTok, 2021). Nearly every professional football team in the UK and Europe has a TikTok account in which they produce content with staff and players for their fans to access across the globe. Furthermore, TikTok was an official partner of UEFA Euro 2020 tournament allowing the sport to become more connected than ever with the fans (Cronin, 2020). The platform is a perfect way for football teams to grow their fan base due to the apps ability to create social connections through likeable, relevant football content that fans can engage in.

UEFA’s partnership with TikTok during the tournament also included broadcasting rights, allowing TikTok to stream live matches and show highlights of previous matches for fans to engage with (Manson, 2021). Engagement levels is what sporting organisations are now most concerned with and the stickiness of the content (as explained in blog 3). The stickier the content, the more likely fans are going to engage with content and increase spreadability.

The official TikTok advert for Euro 2020!

Do you agree? Leave your comments down below and let me know whether you think TikTok is here to stay in the world of football.

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