In recent years, esports and gaming have become major mainstream industries, evolving from a niche into central forms of entertainment. Esports was once a subset of sports culture, but it has grown into its own industry that’s on track to surpass $1.6 billion by 2023.
Esports events have slowly shifted to online events, with fans buying tickets to live-streamed tournaments. Platforms that have livestream capabilities such as Twitch and YouTube give fans the chance to create a connection in live-time with their favourite esports teams, with this connection being nurtured by more mainstream socials such as Instagram and TikTok.
Esports teams have become brands in their own right. Due to their online-nature, esports teams use social media to attract new fans. While Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Twitch are great for creating video content, TikTok is the platform to create viral content that can attract millions.
We have researched how esports teams use TikTok to communicate and engage with their audiences.
How Esports Teams are Using TikTok
G2 Esports has 504K followers on TikTok and shares a variety of scheduled and reactive content with its audience. The account posts on TikTok at least three times a week, with the majority of content in English. It shares scheduled best-of clips from existing live streams or videos created by squad members or its partnered content creators, as well as behind the scenes footage of competitions and tournaments.
@g2esportsWE GOT A, #1 VICTORY ROYALE #fortnite #chugjugwithyou #deepfake #fnbr #fnbrcompetitive♬ original sound – g2esports
Reactive content includes viral and trending TikTok challenges or sounds. G2 Esports has a partnership with Pringles and post comedic content on how Pringles can enhance the squad’s performance. They create content specifically for TikTok, giving fans that follow them on the platform exclusive content. The comedic content often includes direct engagement messaging that encourages its audience to tag friends to bring into a discussion in the comments.
@g2esportsvertigo gamers know #csgo #counterstrike #gaming♬ son original – g2esports
The account doesn’t focus specifically on one game, squad or creator, but shares the content equally. This makes the account and team appeal to more of the gaming community as they are presented with a variety of consistent content.
100 Thieves has nearly one million followers on its TikTok account and shares almost exclusively scheduled content. It posts mostly once a day on TikTok and covers a variety of games, but predominantly Valorant and Warzone. The content is pulled from highlights of gamers’ live streams on Twitch, but also clips of offline challenges creators have filmed for YouTube videos.
@100thievesTHAT WALLBANG… 😭 (credit: @kxpture ) #warzone #warzoneclips #twitch #cod♬ original sound – 100 Thieves
In addition to this, they post gaming tips and tricks, as well as Easter eggs within video games. The content itself is pulled from live streams or existing videos, but a voiceover is added for TikTok. They also post funny clips taken from live stream Q&As that allow followers to get to know 100 Thieves’ content creators more. 100 Thieves generally doesn’t contribute to trending content on TikTok, but posts content from trending games, which keeps it relevant in the gaming community.
@100thievesOnly real ones remember this iconic YouTube dance challenge video! 👏 @valkyrae @brookeab #dance #dancechallenge #youtube♬ original sound – 100 Thieves
The focus on influencer content makes the team seem more relatable as followers can connect with a person, rather than a brand. In addition, the fans of the influencers will be more inclined to follow and engage with 100 Thieves’ account. This type of content is reliable to use, as more is produced by influencers constantly.
Team Liquid has just under 100K followers on TikTok and posts almost every weekday on TikTok. Prior to 2021, the team didn’t post regularly but has upped its content posting since the new year and has gained over 50K followers. It’s main content strategy is to post highlights from their team’s live streams but has begun venturing into sharing meme content. Team Liquid often combines gameplay highlights with recorded reactions from the player. This helps produce comedic meme content as well as build relationships with audiences.
@teamliquidDo NOT try this at home!! #valorant #gaming #parkour♬ original sound – Team Liquid
The variety of content—gameplay, memes and stream highlights—offers followers different content to engage with and be entertained by. This makes the account more appealing to community members. The meme content posted performs exceptionally well and receives the most engagement from audience members. In addition, the gameplay videos receive more engagement when there is a focus on the player and their reaction.
Benefits of TikTok for Esports Teams
Esports teams currently use TikTok as an entertainment platform for their audiences. It is a place where they share highlights of gameplay, tips and tricks, and where influencers can help the teams create closer relationships with their audiences. Esports teams are able to regularly interact with their audiences in comment sections, further nurturing their relationship and increasing engagements.
While consistent content is always needed in order to create a strong community on any platform, it is important that teams continue to create content their audience prefers, whether that’s more meme-style and trending content or more influencer reactions. This not only brings in more views and engagement from existing followers but will widen the appeal of the account to target audiences. In addition, providing a variety of content keeps audiences engaged and entertained.
TikTok gives esports teams the opportunity to be creative with the content they produce. They can create relevance within their audiences by keeping up with trending gameplay, creating their own memes or challenges and using trending TikTok sounds.
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