TikTok inks 3-year deal with New York Yankees

Dive Brief:

  • TikTok is teaming up with the New York Yankees and the YES Network to build a deeper connection between baseball fans and the game this season, the company announced.
  • TikTok will join as a sponsor and pay $10 million across three years to the team and its pay TV sports network in exchange for promotional spots, including signage at Yankee Stadium, according to additional details in Adweek.
  • The Yankees will also get team-branded content on TikTok.

Dive Insight:

By sponsoring the Yankees and teaming with its pay TV network, TikTok has an opportunity to expand its reach to U.S. sports fans in the nation’s largest metropolitan area.

The deal comes amid the pandemic that has canceled or postponed many professional sporting events, creating pent-up demand for online sports content, as most games won’t allow attendees in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Major League Baseball this summer has hosted games without audiences, and viewership is up 34% from last year, according to ESPN data cited in the Wall Street Journal.

Without the ability to attend games in-person and with bars in many areas closed, sports-starved consumers are turning to online platforms and social networks to keep up with games they’re watching from home on TV and streaming channels. The New York Yankees have already captured the attention of more than 100,000 TikTok users, according to the announcement Wednesday, and the new partnership will likely grow that audience and boost online chatter about the team.

A big question that remains is whether the social video app will be allowed in the U.S. much longer. President Trump last week introduced an executive order that prohibits U.S. companies from transactions with TikTok and its parent company ByteDance starting Sept. 20. Microsoft in has been in talks to acquire TikTok’s U.S. business. If the app is allowed to move forward, the new partnership between TikTok and the Yankees could help the team to tap into TikTok’s young audience through team-branded content.

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