Quickly becoming one of the biggest social media apps in the world, TikTok has recently been stuck in the crosshairs of business and political interests, at least in the U.S. However, that has not stopped the Chinese short-form video platform from continuing to expand. In fact, thanks to a new partnership with the British esports organization Tundra, TikTok is poised to get in on one of the fastest growing industries in the world as well.
In recent U.S. news, a federal court order has halted a government attempt to keep Americans from downloading TikTok and the Trump administration has filed an appeal, hoping to push through their ban. The claim is that the Chinese app is a security risk, sending user information overseas, prompting the administration to push for a sale of the app to an American company. Obviously, there are a lot of business and political incentives affecting TikTok’s standing in the U.S. but the thing is, that hasn’t slowed down the app’s global ascent. Part of that expansion has to do with the equally ascendant global esports industry.
As reported by Reuters this past week, TikTok has officially partnered up with Tundra, the London-based esports organization founded in 2019. Tundra may only be a year old, but they’ve already assembled an impressive roster of talent in the realm of FIFA, including “2018 FIFA eWorld Cup Champion Musaed ‘Msdossary’ Al-Dossary, who has more than 945,000 followers on social media.” Now, with TikTok as a Principal Partner, Tundra is looking to continue to establish itself as a force to be reckoned with.
According to Law Insider.com, a Principal Partner is “a partner having an interest of 5 percent or more in partnership profits or capital.” This means that TikTok is officially invested in Tundra’s success and has the potential to profit significantly from said success. Obviously, any company is interested in finding new revenue streams, yet when it comes to TikTok and esports, that interest isn’t new. As TikTok Europe’s Head of Brand and Partnerships Marketing Jana Ulaite explains in the Reuters article, “Esports has found a natural home on TikTok, with gaming content already proving to be hugely popular in our community.” It’s likely that the popularity of gaming content is what inspired this year’s earlier foray into the world of pro gaming with “the TikTok Cup, an online collegiate esports tournament with a $60,000 prize pool.”
As of right now, TikTok’s future in the U.S. may seem uncertain, but elsewhere in the world, their future is looking bright. By continuing to invest in the esports industry, TikTok is further establishing itself as a part of the cultural landscape. Tundra has “also teamed up with Italian sportswear company Kappa, who will provide the esports organisation with their new apparel, including their jersey and tracksuit.” What’s more, with the recent release of FIFA 21—and the established popularity of FIFA-related content on TikTok—their position as an esports organization on the rise is practically guaranteed.
Overall, the esports industry continues to prove itself as a massively globalizing force. As an industry it facilitates a bevy of successful partnerships across the board. Along with the business savvy TikTok’s new partnership with Tundra exhibits, the move also serves to contextualize the app’s current difficulties in the U.S. within a larger frame of reference.