The AST wrap-up: Uefa x TikTok, BBC x Bellator MMA and more!

The weeks are passing, and they get busier and busier in the sports business world. Twenty20 made History thanks to the Big Bash League (BBL), Uefa ride the millennial wave of TikTok, and AC Milan turn their Serie A journey into a movie. Formula 1 is storming ahead with social media engagement, and could the BBC have just unlocked a new UK audience for Bellator MMA to entice?

The Big Bash League becomes the MOST WATCHED instalment in Twenty20 History

Sydney Sixers’ claiming victory in the Big Bash League final: https://sports.ndtv.com/cricket/bbl-sydney-sixers-beat-perth-scorchers-in-final-to-clinch-title-2364664

Viewership increased by 15% from last year where 1.4 million fans tuned in to watch the Sydney Sixers’ unequivocal 27-run win across broadcast and streaming services, Seven, Foxtel and Kayo. This becomes the Big Bash League’s (BBL) 4th most-watched game EVER.

The entire tournament generated a total audience reach of 44.82 million, 5.9%+ over all platforms compared to last year and sits as the most extensive reach achieved in the BBL. Average viewership per-game was 735,000 which placed the BBL as the most-viewed sports tournament in Australia on a per-match basis.

Despite the pandemic, the BBL saw 552,140 fans attend games throughout the season. Even though it was the final of the BBL, you could argue it had a marvellous start to 2021!

Uefa team up with TikTok for Euro2020

The summer’s rescheduled football tournament rides the culture wave by announcing the global video-sharing app, TikTok, as an official partner for the competition. The collaboration will include tailored augmented reality (AR) effects, hashtag challenges and live streams through the app.  

TikTok has also managed to secure broadcast sponsorship rights which will see the app receive invaluable brand awareness on European television channels through live programming. Plus, Uefa is launching an exclusive tournament account on the platform where content will consist of present and archived footage alongside behind-the-scenes coverage.

Football’s impact on TikTok has been colossal with the hashtag, #football, acquiring 70bn+ views. TikTok is the 2nd video sharing platform to integrate its brand across the sports industry. Arch-rival, Triller, has launched a celebrity boxing league entitled ‘the fight club’, which will host US influencer, Jake Paul take on MMA veteran, Ben Askren.

Sport is entering an age where the next-gen connection is integral for its sustainability as a global entertainment entity.  

F1 finds digital engagement skyrocketing throughout 2020

Lewis Hamilton celebrates after his victory in Tuscany. Photograph: Luca Bruno/EPA. https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/other-sports/peerless-lewis-hamilton-takes-inaugural-tuscan-grand-prix-1.4353869

The worldwide motorsports series produced a 99% increase in social media (sm) engagements last year to 810 million. F1 now claims it’s the quickest growing sports property across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok, Snapchat, Twitch and Chinese social platforms; all channel followers have totalled 35 million.

The leading motorsport competition experienced 133% uprise to 1.9 million followers across Chinese sm channels such as Weibo, WeChat, Toutiao and Douyin.

Video views also acquired a significant boost for F1. They increased by 46% compared to 2019 to 4.9 billion while unique users on F1.com and the F1 app rose by 26% to 70.5 million alongside page views expanding to 1.3 billion, a 13%+. The properties Esports series accumulated 11.4 million live stream views, 1.7 million sm engagements (an all-time high for any of F1’s Esports events) with 23.8 million video views.

It’s been a groundbreaking year for F1’s digital performance. It’s opened up a new audience for the property and more importantly, an enormous appetite for motorsport.

AC Milan stay digitally savvy off the pitch

Milan isn’t only leading in Serie A right now; they’re ahead of the game with their digitalisation process. The club has established, The Studios: Milan Media House, an in-house media operation that will produce, create and distribute the teams cinematic content.

The Studios: Milan Media House proves an opportunity to increase the club’s creation of multimedia content to enhance their relationships with commercial partners and third parties.

The content house will include the likes of 4K cameras and LCD-LED displays. The operations will involve a voice-over room for match commentary and podcast recording. Forty employees are involved in this project from creative and technical backgrounds.

BBC to generate a new audience for Bellator MMA

The BBC has secured rights for combat sports promotion, Bellator MMA in 2021. Bellator events will be presented across the BBC’s streaming and catch-up service, BBC iPlayer.

October 2020 saw the BBC host their first-ever Bellator MMA card from Paris, the successes achieved has inspired them to pursue a long-term partnership with the sports property. Each event will be streamed live but will also be available on-demand after the initial broadcast.

Leading MMA property, the UFC, hasn’t capitalised on its reach across the UK considering most of its event start-times are in the early hours of the morning. The BBC can’t control this issue. However, they’re presenting MMA to an audience where no Pay-Per-View cost is required unlike BT Sports link with the UFC. Therefore, Bellator MMA has a significant chance of raising its prominence across the UK to gain commercial success.


That’s a wrap! What’s next in store for the BBL? Could we see live match broadcasts of the Euros on TikTok? Are AC Milan becoming the most ‘digitalised’ club in Serie A? Could F1 top their SM rankings in 2021? And, how beneficial do you think Bellator MMA will be at enticing BBC viewers into combat sports?

Published by Ash

I'm a First-Class Graduate in Sports Business Management who has worked across Local Government, Sport and the Third Sector. Throughout my career, I've developed a thriving passion to promote sport being used as a tool to bring positivity to the world we live in. This ethos has inspired me to create a website which champions this value through comprehensive online content for you to gain value from. Join me on this journey of discovering what sport can do to enhance society.

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