Monday, Morning Consult released an article with a study diving into the popularity of sports and athletes among different generational groups- Generation Z and Millennials. At a time when the subject of name, image and likeness is a topic of conversation in the world of athletics, this seems incredibly relevant.
We know that colleges and universities are not new to social media.
But what is new information from the Morning Consult article, is how disinterested “Gen Zers” are in sports and how interested they are in Tik Tok.
What the article reveals is that Gen Z, those who are current ages 13-23, are half as likely as their millennial peers to watch a live game and that when polled only 1% say that their favorite athlete is a college athlete.
The article also suggests that Tik Tok is the social media of choice for college athletes and by Gen Z as a whole.
What does that tell teams?
That the easiest way for a player to gain fans is to utilize the social media platform of Tik Tok, that many players are already are on.
While many athletes are on Tik Tok just for fun, what is being suggested is that its a much more powerful tool than just a few laughs from friends. Tik Tok could easily transform a Gen Z disinterested in sports to a Gen Z that becomes more interested. Gen Z accounts for roughly 20% of the population in the United States and is an untapped potential market.
The use of Tik Tok by players who are less name recognized, (Mr. Offensive Lineman I’m looking at you) could quickly turn Tik Tok users into college football fans. The study by Morning Consult shows that people in Gen Z are more likely to become fans of a singular player first, then the team and then the league. This progression needs to be recognized by schools and then utilized. If a team encourages a very witty Center, for example, to be active on his Tik Tok account, not only will he personally accrue fans, but so will the team.
The article explains, "'Users on Gen Z’s app of choice, TikTok, like to see athletes in the "raw and authentic, full-screen, vertical style” that the platform is known for, a TikTok spokesperson said'". With "name, image and likeness", athletes would have the financial incentive to be active on social media particularly Tik Tok more often.
So what does all of this mean?
It means that for Gen Z fans, interest in a player/team/sport has a LOT LESS to do with an athlete's skill and a whole lot more to do with an athlete's presence on social media, especially Tik Tok. Gen Z wants to see videos of teammates pregame dancing, not on the field action.
Tik Tok, an app that is relatively new, holds the keys to increasing a fan base for college football players and teams.