Many believe sport is facing an unprecedented challenge in its ability to attract young fans. Therefore it's key that sport adapts and experiments in how it attracts and builds relationships with younger fans.
Increasingly social media plays a key role, with newer platforms like TikTok offering opportunities to build global communities of young people. TikTok was recently announced as an official sponsor of Euros which demonstrates that it's keen to develop a stronger relationship with football. Also many more top clubs, as Bayern Munich announced last week, are starting to invest more time and effort to really growing their TikTok audiences.
Therefore we asked Eoin Kelly, a sports management student at University College Dublin (and UP intern) to share his top ten football club TikTok accounts:
1) FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona have one of the most followed and most engaging accounts on TikTok amongst football clubs with 8.2 million followers and nearly 94 million likes. The Catalan club post a wide range of content with Lionel Messi central to a lot of the videos, from videos of him scoring goals to becoming the player with the most appearances for the club.FC Barcelona create a lot of engagement through the posts and the account brings followers behind the scenes to one of the most famous clubs in world football.
2). Real Madrid
It is no surprise that Real Madrid have one of the best accounts on TikTok considering the size of the club and its resources. Some of Real’s players such as Sergio Ramos and Toni Kroos use the social media platform regularly on their private accounts. Real Madrid engages with 4.9 million followers with creative videos and a lot of posts with the players on the training ground and in the gym. The 13 times European Champions also have over 40 million likes.
3). FC Bayern
FC Bayern Munich have 4.4 million followers and 48.2 million likes on the club’s official TikTok account. As well as posting videos from training and match day highlights, Bayern use the players to engage with fans on the social media platform. An example of this is a post with Manuel Neuer promoting the match between Bayern and Dortmund. This helps the club to promote upcoming matches and to update the fans on news and other events. 4). AS Monaco
AS Monaco take a slightly different approach to TikTok which makes it very interesting. The side in Ligue 1 do post highlights of matches but use training videos a lot more than other clubs. Well known Spanish player Cesc Fabregas doing a workout in the gym is an example of this.This gives a ‘behind the scenes’ feeling to the account and gives fans a good indication to the daily routine of a football club. AS Monaco have over 269 thousand followers with 1.6 million likes.
Chelsea have made the list as they have a very strong TikTok account, not because I am a huge fan! The London-based club strike a great balance of posts between match day footage, great goals, interviews with players, training ground footage and fun and engaging content. With 1.8 million followers and 18 million likes, followers of the account get an all-rounded, great experience.
Having the most followed sports person on social media in the world at your club is a valuable asset when posting videos on TikTok. A lot of the posts on the Juventus TikTok account involve Cristiano Ronaldo and these videos are the ones with the most engagement.
Videos of Ronaldo scoring goals or celebrating in the Juventus jersey is great publicity for the club and the sponsors, due to the following of the Portuguese superstar onlineMost of the content posted on the account are match day highlights and goals. The club from Turin has 2.7 million followers and 22 million likes.
The club from Amsterdam is steeped in history and use this to its advantage by posting old videos from over the years. As well as entertaining videos of the likes of Johan Cruyff, Ajax also post highlights of goals and training sessions with the current squad. An old video with Cruyff for example, helps Ajax reach a different demographic.With 1.9 million followers and 37.7 million likes, the Dutch side have a very interactive following and fanbase.
Borussia Dortmund is capitalising on the star young players on TikTok using them to appeal to the new generation of football fans. Haaland and Sancho feature a lot on the account with goals, interviews and fun and engaging content. The German club have 2.6 million followers and 19.6 million likes. As well as posts about football, Dortmund have videos that appeal to a wider audience with artistic and creative posts.
In addition to the club’s other successful social media accounts, Brentford FC have a brilliant TikTok account. The football club use it for match highlights and posts about players. The content Brentford have on the page is interactive and generates great discussion in the comments section. The Championship side have just over 111.9 thousand followers with over 1.8 million likes. Star striker Ivan Toney is a popular figure for the clubs Tik Tok account
with videos of him scoring goals or in training and posts about him generate a lot of engagement. 10). Fulham
The London based club is an interesting choice for this list, as for a Premier league club it has a relatively low following on TikTok compared to its competitors. Fulham have just over 60,000 followers with over 408,000 likes. The club’s use of past players, past historic moments and goals is a great way to generate creative content, an example of this is a post
creating discussion around the wonder goal from Patjim Kasami against Crystal Palace. Videos with players is a great way to engage with fans and Fulham do this brilliantly with games on Tik Tok with current squad members.
NB: The Tik Tok numbers provided here are from w/c 12th April. These are growing rapidly on a daily basis and therefore will soon be out of date, which is an interesting fact in itself.