UFC®, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, was among the first to leverage TikTok content on live linear broadcast powered by Tagboard to integrate behind the scenes footage & enable powerful cross-channel storytelling opportunities for its viewers.
TikTok is a marquee destination for sports fans to connect with passionate communities and their favorite athletes. It’s home to authentic moments caught on camera and exclusive behind-the-scenes content that fans cannot find anywhere else. UFC is now leveraging that coveted content beyond the app, and seamlessly integrating it directly into its on-air storytelling, using Tagboard’s cloud production platform.
UFC featured TikTok content on ABC for UFC Live earlier this month, during the ALVEY vs. MARQUEZ fight. Leading up to the April 10th matchup, UFC middleweight contenders Sam Alvey and Jullian Marquez, both active users of the popular app, were digitally sparring in posts to their followers, building momentum to drive viewership. The TikTok videos offer a unique window into the personalities and private lives of these athletes.
“We are diving into our partnership with TikTok in a big way, by not only bringing content to our fans on their platform, but also by utilizing athlete and fan generated content to tell stories across our linear broadcast,” said David Shaw, senior Vice President of International and Content for UFC. “Our partnership with Tagboard offers unparalleled access for us to tell the UFC story with more immediacy and powerful context, benefiting our fans and viewers around the world.”
Tagboard features a direct, one-click integration with TikTok that unlocks the opportunity for UFC producers to instantly source real-time content. This seamless integration opens up endless programming opportunities, ranging from TikTok challenges to original content, and will help drive increased engagement in-app for UFC’s already passionate TikTok following.
With more than 6.3 million followers on TikTok, UFC has become the third most-followed sports league on the platform since joining in October 2019. This integration comes on the heels of UFC’s recent multi-year partnership announcement with TikTok to deliver exclusive livestream content on the platform.
UFC first integrated TikTok in March using Tagboard technology, giving viewers an intimate look at current UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling’s life outside of the Octagon®. The morning show captured his genuine reaction to trying a popular TikTok challenge ahead of UFC® 259: BLACHOWICZ vs. ADESANYA.
“We simply love to work with media companies who want to push the boundaries of how stories are told. Our partners at UFC and TikTok have challenged us to help them think through the most innovative ways to tell stories across both broadcast and the TikTok platform. This is where Tagboard thrives and I’m excited to see our collaboration grow!” said Tagboard’s President, Nathan J. Peterson.
This integration builds on UFC’s innovative use of Tagboard’s cloud production platform for the past year. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, UFC has doubled down on producing interactive content that keeps fans engaged while they can’t be in the stands, leveraging social polling and real-time reaction from fans and influencers. The world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion was the first live sport back in action, and leaned on Tagboard to produce interactive content for programming on linear, pay-per-view, digital, and social channels, including extensive behind-the-scenes coverage from UFC FIGHT ISLAND™.