If you’re not on TikTok, you might miss out on the future of sports media, at least according to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
The entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” investor stopped by The Colin Cowherd Podcast this week to discuss a wide variety of topics involving his Mavericks and the NBA, including Luka Doncic‘s adjustment to the league and NBA rules he’d like to change.
The conversation also veered towards social media, something that Cuban is very active in, and he went as far as to suggest that if you want a glimpse into the future of sports and the way it’s covered, you better start learning your TikTok dance choreography now.
— The Volume (@TheVolumeSports) March 23, 2022
“TikTok-like presentation of sports is the future of sports media. Period. End of story. It is the one thing,” said Cuban, who then went on to explain why the algorithm-driven, bite-sized content platform could be the way future generations enjoy baseball.
“TikTok-like presentation will save-could save baseball in terms of sports media. Because baseball actually is the perfect sport to present every at-bat.”
“Look at this way, TikTok uses AI to present the things you’re interested in. So if my son or I like Luka Doncic dunks, NBA stuff, and dogs, right? You’re just going to get a steady stream of that. If Major League Baseball did a TikTok version, call it ‘Red Zone for the NBA’ or ‘Red Zone for MLB’ and all I cared about was [Shohei] Ohtani, the Texas Rangers, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. And every impactful at-bat, you know, bottom of the 9th with runners in scoring position. And it’s showing me a real-time live feed of just that at-bat, or just that possession where Luka has the ball or just that dunk. Whatever it may be from my favorite players. That’s the future of sports media. Because we’re not going to get our 16-year-old or 12-year-old or 15-year-old to sit for a full game. It’s just not going to happen.”
Cuban has long been concerned with the way sports leagues like the NBA are losing access to audiences and is always looking for creative ways to reach fans, so it makes a lot of sense that someone with his background would look to TikTok’s AI technology as a unique tool for aging properties like MLB to re-connect with young audiences.
Anyone who has spent time on TikTok can tell you that the algorithm is scary good at putting content you want right in front of your face, even if you’re not sure how the social media platform knew you’d be interested in it. That’s appealing for sports leagues who are constantly trying to break through the clutter, especially as younger audiences are inundated with options.
The big question in these situations is always how willing the leagues are to divvy up their content for use on apps like TikTok. Networks and broadcasters are paying billions of dollars for exclusive rights to games and highlights. We’ve seen how stingy leagues like MLB and the NFL can be with clip sharing and GIFs on Twitter. We’ve got a long way to go before MLB would be willing to just give TikTok or a similar platform free reign to disseminate live highlights at will.
All of which isn’t to say that Cuban is entirely wrong, though it’s perhaps more likely to say that “TikTok-like presentation” is an important part of the future of sports media. But to say that it’s “the” future? That might be a bit too grandiose. But as we know, if there’s any American pro sports owner who is going to lead the charge on the ways technology impacts pro sports coverage, it’s Mark Cuban.