There’s a new leader in the sports league clubhouse on TikTok, as World Wrestling Entertainment recently surged past the National Basketball Association.
The edge was slight at the time of this post—13.6 million followers for WWE, 13.4 million for the NBA—and WWE vice president of digital media Steve Braband told Adweek he expects a “healthy battle” once the NBA season tips off in October.
WWE has more than 1 billion total followers across 15 social media platforms, and it tallied over 1 billion engagements in 2020 (up 12% year over year), more than 37 billion video views (up 10%) and over 1 billion hours of consumed digital and social content (also up 10%).
It is the second most followed sports brand globally across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, trailing only soccer’s UEFA Champions League, and the No. 1 sports channel and No. 4 channel overall worldwide on YouTube.
The WWE TikTok channel debuted in December 2019, and Braband said the company prioritized three things: leaning into the video creation platform’s livestreaming capabilities, producing content specifically for TikTok while matching trends and digging into its archives to tie into current storylines, citing as an example of the latter sharing archival video of Brock Lesnar to mark his comeback at SummerSlam last month.
This video became WWE’s most-viewed video on TikTok, topping 83.1 million views.
Braband said WWE strives to “look at each social platform and cater content to its algorithms and how people use it,” and to find ways to create unique pieces of content for those platforms, rather than going with a one-size-fits-all approach.
He added that the team working on TikTok is passionate about the platform and sees it as “a great opportunity to reach a new audience and push content forward,” adding that WWE’s social team on the road works closely with the WWE Superstars.
World Wrestling Entertainment turned to TikTok to find a ring announcer for its SummerSlam event in August.
Pure Life Purified Water presented the contest, in which TikTok users uploaded Duets of entrances with different Superstars, with the #WWEAnnouncerContest hashtag.
The fans are the secret sauce,” Braband said. “They are what makes the product tick.”