TikTok announces new sponsorships as US lawmakers grill CEO

Last week, TikTok announced that the company had signed new sponsorship agreements with both the Women’s Six Nations and Eurovision. The news came as the social media app’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, was grilled by US lawmakers about the company’s relationship with China and the protections it has in place for younger users.

TikTok renews sponsorship of Women’s Six Nations

On the eve of this year’s tournament, TikTok announced that the company’s title sponsorship of the Championships was entering its second year.

TikTok said that ‘Building on the partnership’s success in 2022, TikTok will once again take rugby fans behind-the-scenes of Europe’s showpiece rugby tournament, helping the women’s game reach new audiences within TikTok’s community of 150 million monthly users across Europe.’

The company also added that ‘2022 was a significant year for women’s rugby as TikTok became the tournament’s first-ever title partner. Last year’s Championships smashed all attendance records for women’s matches with a 69% increase in stadium support, while unprecedented TV audiences watched in 137 countries thanks to significantly ramped up broadcast coverage. There were more than 100 million video views on the @TikTokW6N TikTok channel and 110,000 new followers.’

This year, TikTok’s official #SixNationsRugby Search Hub will house a wealth of rugby content in-app throughout the TikTok Women’s Six Nations. It will show:

  • Match highlights
  • Training ground footage
  • Fan reactions
  • Creator content and more

Added to this, the global TikTok community will also be able to take part in bespoke challenges. As part of this, users will be able to use exclusive archive footage to create their own videos using the Split Screen and Duet tools on the platform.

TikTok selected as the Official Entertainment partner of Eurovision Song Contest 2023

A couple of days later, TikTok announced that the platform had been selected by the European Broadcasting Union as the Official Entertainment Partner for the Eurovision Song Contest for the second year in a row.

TikTok said that the company will be ‘the go to destination for all things Eurovision. From specially created livestreams and exclusive performances in app, to music playlists and behind-the-scenes content… TikTok will bring the community into the heart of what makes Eurovision the most watched, loved and celebrated music event in the world.’

Plus, the company will also form a partnership with Visit Liverpool to help users find the best spots in the city, support busking sites around Liverpool so local artists can perform, and host an exclusive legends performance in the Eurovision Village (legends will be revealed in the coming weeks).

Why does this matter?

These two positive releases from TikTok continue to show the company’s investment in the sports and music spaces. Both will also continue to underline the growth of the platform, which has been meteoric. After all, by sponsoring such high profile events, the platform will be thrust further into mainstream consciousness.

However, we must note that these releases coincided with Shou Zi Chew’s first appearance in front of Congress. As a result, these releases are likely a way of countering the bipartisan pressure TikTok is under, with Chew forced to address the company’s links to China, its privacy practices and the steps it was taking to ensure youth safety and the mental health of its users.

Both the UK and US governments have banned TikTok on government devices, and the Biden administration has gone one step further by threatening a national ban in the country.

As a result, although the app’s popularity continues to surge and sponsorships such as the ones highlighted here will continue to grow its brand, its future in the US particularly remains uncertain as some lawmakers still believe that TikTok is a tool that could be exploited by the Chinese Communist Party. That said, a total ban in the US still remains unlikely at this stage due to free speech concerns.


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