MLS dances to TikTok tune as US threatens to ban the Chinese-owned app

March 20 – While the US government has increased its pressure campaign against TikTok, threatening a US ban of the app if the company doesn’t split with its Chinese ownership, Major League Soccer has no issue with the social media platform being used to collect vast volumes of data.

The US and other governments, including the UK, have cited national security interests. The MLS have put personal financial interests in first position.

Under the new multi-year partnership between the MLS and TikTok, the platform will engage and ‘officially’ create communities around the league and its clubs.

This will be done “through exclusive content, in-app programming, greater access to highlights, in-stadium activations, MLS’ biggest events and tournaments”, said TikTok.

TikTok and MLS will launch a new Club Creator Network, where TikTok creators will be paired with MLS clubs to create content including providing unique access to MLS players and behind-the-scenes moments. TikTok will also have access to MLS content which app users will be able to access via the MLS Hub.

As well as integration into every MLS game, the platform will have in-stadium branding, using tis content across stadium videoboards. TikTok will also be the co-presenting sponsor of eMLS Cup.

“MLS fans are some of the most passionate in the game, many of whom come to TikTok react to their favorite moments across the league, build community with other fans, and connect with the passion and authenticity of the soccer world,” said Harish Sarma, Global Head of Sports & Gaming at TikTok.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with MLS to take soccer content to the next level, all while giving our community exclusive access to the game they love so much.”

MLS is already on the TikTok platform having joined in 2020, and now has 1.2 million followers, over 256 million video views, and 2.7 billion views. TikTok has targeted football for its expansion with views for #soccer having increased over 500% in the past two years, growing from 40 billion to more than 267 billion today – #football has had more than 800 billion views.

TikTok has been a partner of the UEFA Euros as well the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

David Bruce, MLS SVP of Brand and Integrated Marketing. “The Club Creator Network with TikTok fits perfectly with MLS’ vision of creating our version of the global game. … The ability to make MLS assets available to fans in new and creative ways, so they can help tell our story on TikTok, will enable us to drive engagement with existing and future fans across the world.”

No value was given for the deal.

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