TikTok gets into live streaming of sport in UK with women's tennis clash
TikTok, the Chinese video-sharing platform, has touched down in broadcasting a live sports event in the UK for the first time.
Under a partnership with the Lawn Tennis Association, the company is showing Great Britain's tie against Mexico in the Billie Jean King Cup, the women's national teams tennis competition formerly known as the Fed Cup.
The match is taking place today and tomorrow at Roehampton in London, with the matches going out on the LTA's official channel on TikTok.
The tie is also being shown in the UK by the BBC on iPlayer, the public-service broadcaster's internet streaming and catch-up service.
Great Britain and Mexico are two of 16 teams competing in play-off ties for a place in the qualifiers for the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals.
The live coverage represents a new departure for TikTok, which is primarily known for action videos uploaded by its users, and claims to be an increasingly popular destination for tennis fans, with over 3.2 billion views of related content this year.
The LTA plans to further engage with the platform with Play Your Way, an initiative aimed at encouraging participation by players of all ages.
TikTok has been stepping up its involvement in sport in recent months, notably in becoming a global sponsor of soccer's European Championships this June and July, and signing content deals with UFC, the mixed martial arts series, and Extreme E, the new SUV electric motor racing series.
However, the LTA deal shows its appetite for live sport, and could become a trend, following in the footsteps of the likes of Amazon, Twitter and YouTube, all of which have gone beyond mere highlights.
Adam Hewlett, head of brand marketing at the LTA, said today: "This year’s Billie Jean King Cup – the world cup of women’s tennis – will be like no other. With no supporters cheering from the stands [because of Covid-19 restrictions], we are bringing the courtside experience to everyone at home! Welcoming fans both new and old to join us for two days of world-class tennis across the LTA’s TikTok channel.
"With more and more live events moving to social media platforms, we have a huge opportunity to lead the industry in producing the UK’s first live sports coverage on TikTok. Our channel will be the home of all the event build-up, best moments, behind the scenes footage and live match action from this weekend’s tie – showcasing the stars of women’s tennis.
"This is only the start of our journey working with TikTok. Play Your Way is about inspiring a new wave of players – of all ages and backgrounds – to pick up a racket and we are always looking for innovative ways to bring people closer to our professional and grassroots games. Our partnership with TikTok will play a vital role in opening tennis up and getting more people to give tennis a go.”
There is a recent GlobalData Sport interview with Normanno Pisani, head of media partnerships UK at TikTok, at https://sport.globaldata.com/News/tiktok-gets-a-kick-out-of-euro-2020