ESPN launches Creator Network program to strengthen presence on TikTok

September 16, 2022
The sports conglomerate announced its Creator Network yesterday, a program that recruits young content creators to whip up sports-centric TikToks geared toward their generation.
Sports Biz
SOURCE: MATEUSZ SLODKOWSKI/SOPA IMAGES/LIGHTROCKET VIA GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: MATEUSZ SLODKOWSKI/SOPA IMAGES/LIGHTROCKET VIA GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: Brands really want Gen Z to like them. The latest example? ESPN. The sports conglomerate announced its Creator Network yesterday, a program that recruits young content creators to whip up sports-centric TikToks geared toward their generation.

The details: The initial four-month program kicks off next month with 10 creators. ESPN will provide Creator Network members with equipment, educational courses, travel, tickets and access to its sports properties. Creators will not be compensated, however. *raises eyebrow*

  • ESPN will focus on TikTok for the first program, and will let creators curate their own channels and content. From there, the broadcasting giant will decide how to best elevate their work.

The context: Content programs are already in the company playbook. ESPN parent Disney launched a Creators Lab for its theme parks division a year ago, which was geared towards audiences on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.

Zooming out: Sports organizations are pivoting to TikTok, a platform many either ignored or were slow to embrace, as they desperately court younger audiences. The social media app’s algorithm is a notably tough nut to crack compared to its counterparts — unlike Instagram’s polish, weird reigns supreme on TikTok. Authenticity is key with Gen Z.

Sports Biz