Team GB sign deal with TikTok to boost athletes' online fanbase
LONDON : Britain's Olympics team have signed a sponsorship deal with TikTok, bringing in the Chinese social media platform to help grow its athletes' online influence as strict Olympic rules on digital advertising are set to be loosened for this year's Games in Paris.
Announcing the deal on Monday, Team GB and Paralympics GB said having TikTok as an official partner would help their athletes to connect with new audiences and grow their fanbase.
TikTok is a short-form video platform many brands see as key for reaching younger audiences.
Team GB Commercial Director Tim Ellerton said he saw "a valuable opportunity to introduce a new generation to the magic of the Olympic Games".
Under the deal, TikTok will produce content following British Olympians in Paris and athletes will also feature in an advertising campaign across television, billboards, audio and paid social media posts.
The partnership comes as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) plans to relax rules governing online advertising during the Olympics this year in a "pilot project" with the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry.
Though detailed guidance has not yet been published, the project is set to give sportswear brands that are not official Olympic sponsors, but still sponsor Olympic athletes and national teams, the opportunity to advertise through their athletes on social media during the Games for the first time.
Under IOC rules as they stand, what athletes and brands can post on social media is highly restricted - down to the use of terms such as "Paris 2024" - to give priority to official Olympic sponsors.
TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, was banned from British government phones in March last year over security concerns. TikTok at the time