DUBAI: Short-form mobile video app TikTok was announced as the sponsor of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) EURO, making it the first digital platform to sponsor a major international tournament.
As an official partner, TikTok’s aim is to provide a place where fans can follow football content creators, share football content and create personal moments around the tournament. As part of its efforts, TikTok is working with UEFA to launch a variety of features such as augmented reality effects, Hashtag Challenges and live shows.
The partnership also includes broadcast sponsorship rights, giving TikTok brand exposure around UEFA’s live match programs across all European broadcast channels.
The platform has fast become a home for football teams, players and content. The Al-Jazira football club has a prominent presence on the platform with over 120,000 followers. Regional celebrities like Ali Saleh, Yahya Al-Ghassani and Mohammed Abdulbasit are also active and popular on TikTok. In fact, over 25 percent of top league football clubs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including UAE Pro League, Al Jazira, Al-Ain and Shabab Al-Ahli, are on the platform.
“We have noticed great engagement on a global level with EURO 2020 on TikTok, with users from the Middle East and North Africa region coming together and celebrating the joy of football on the platform,” a TikTok spokesperson told Arab News.
Even before the partnership, sports — football, in particular — has been a popular topic on the mobile video app. Football content alone has received 700 million views on the #TikTokFootball hashtag in the region and 129 billion views on the #football hashtag globally.
Since the beginning of the partnership, more than 4 billion videos have been posted with the hashtag #EURO2020.
“In addition, we’re launching a series of challenges until July 11, all catered for the EUROs,” the spokesperson added.
Some of these challenges include #GameReady, which allows creators to engage with followers and build up excitement prior to the game; #FootballColors, which focuses on having fans express their support for their favorite football teams by wearing the team’s jersey and applying their team’s flag on their face; and #CelebrateFootball, which amps up the energy on game day by showing users how to react to the highs and lows of the game.
Currently, the #GameReady challenge has over 165 million views, the #FootballColors challenge over 24 million views and the #CelebrateFootball challenge over 76 million views.
Throughout the month, TikTok is also hosting live shows that bring together players and creators to analyze, discuss and predict games.
“These exclusive EURO live shows combine behind-the-scenes footage, star pundits and media figures from the region who go on TikTok daily and analyze the games with attendees including Mohammed Awaad, Nabaa Al-Dabbagh, Mansour Al-Blooshi and many more,” said the spokesperson.
The biggest milestone of the partnership is an exclusive TikTok-only performance by Ed Sheeran. The show will be staged at Portman Road, home ground stadium of the Ipswich Town FC in the UK, and streamed only on TikTok through his channel @edsheeran on June 25. The show will feature the first performance of the artist’s latest single “Bad Habits,” which is being released on the same day.
“We know that Ed Sheeran has many fans across the region, and we are very excited to be able to tune in to this truly special moment during the UEFA Euro 2020,” said Rami Zeidan, head of video and creative at TikTok, in a statement.
“Music [and sport play] such an important part in the TikTok community as they have the power to bring people together in magical ways. We look forward to seeing everyone there.”
The #TikTokFootball hashtag has over 700 million views in the region
The #football hashtag has received 129 billion views globally
Over 25 percent of top league football clubs in the UAE are on TikTok
The #GameReady challenge has over 165 million views
The #FootballColors challenge has over 24 million views
The #CelebrateFootball challenge has over 76 million views