TikTok signed one of its largest partnership deals with the New York Yankees. The platform and baseball team agreed to a three-year contract which will see the app run promotional spots across the Yankee Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network and billboard advertisements in Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will also pitch and play their own branded content on TikTok throughout the next few years.
Teaming up with the Yankees could help TikTok expand its U.S. audience and connect with fans outside of its app. Working with the Yankees specifically opens TikTok up to one of the largest metropolitan sports fanbases in the country, which could bring a different audience to the app. Running ads in Yankee Stadium—despite no fans currently attending live games—could help TikTok tap into a new fanbase. Displaying the billboard ads during live broadcasts also means TikTok will gain additional coverage on the YES Network. The partnership arrives soon after the return of the MLB season and could help the team touch base with younger baseball fans from home. Since baseball’s return last month, broadcast viewership of games has increased 34%, making TikTok’s advertising arrival a prime time to reach homebound viewers.
While live sports were on hiatus, sports fans turned to social media to keep up with their favorite players and teams. Sports-starved consumers cheering from home could now interact with the Yankees in a new way that allows them to watch games and stay connected with the team at the same time. The Yankees could further appeal to TikTok’s sports fans by utilizing the app’s growing commerce features to sell branded merchandise, according to a Gartner report. However, the baseball brand’s partnership launched during an uncertain period for TikTok, which could throw a curveball in the Yankee’s three-year plans. Though, if the app is not banned in the U.S., pitching entertainment to fans now while they are still stuck at home gives the Yankees a chance to begin growing a virtual fan section on the platform.
The sports and social media mash-up could be a home run as the team looks to connect with younger fans and grow a loyal following on the app. The partnership allows each brand to catch a new audience’s attention and could make TikTok the go-to place for fans wanting to rewatch their favorite sports moments.