TikTok faces US ban to Mike Tyson takes on Jake Paul.

The Takeaway is Trippant’s round-up of essential stories on communications trends in sport, entertainment and experience.  

This week: Congress starts the clock on a TikTok shutdown, Two Circles goes big on the future of sport, influencer boxing gets wilder, Netflix’s Maestro drops the baton at the Oscars, Adidas unveils a Hergé-inspired Belgium kit, some thought leadership pointers, and much more.

 

TikTok teetering in the US

The US government this week moved a step closer to banning TikTok – unless Chinese parent ByteDance agrees to sell a controlling stake in the social media giant to an American buyer. 

Amid ongoing concerns about data security and Chinese state influence over the company’s operations, the House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan bill setting a six-month deadline on that divestment demand. The legislation will now go up to the Senate: it is not guaranteed to pass there but if it does, President Joe Biden has said he is ready to sign it into law.

The communications picture around TikTok is cloudy. Despite misgivings around its governance, US politicians are pragmatic about using the platform to reach its 150 million users – Biden’s own campaign launched an account last month. Donald Trump, meanwhile, marked his confirmation as a three-time Republican presidential nominee by reversing his long-held position on a prospective ban, taking a swipe at Meta in the process.

If it did happen, any ban would carry real diplomatic stakes. And its impact on the wider media ecosystem would be just as considerable, with strategic ramifications for brands and possible real-life consequences for content creators. TikTok’s attempts to engage the latter in lobbying efforts may have backfired on Capitol Hill but their stories – and their options elsewhere – are bound to shape the conversation to come. The TikTok audience is sure to voice its opinions as well. 

More broadly, given the collapse of Twitter/X’s user base and the proliferation of alternatives in that space, and the fact that China has itself long since banned US-owned platforms, this could all point to online experiences becoming less and less universal. That will demand more precise and agile communications plans in turn.

 

The Recap

Two Circles predicts further financial growth for sport

The value of the global sports industry will hit $260 billion by 2033, according to new analysis by Two Circles. The agency has also laid out a series of recommendations for sports bodies aiming to capitalise on that growth potential.   

 

Bloomberg on a quiet Oscar night for Netflix

A well-received Academy Awards ceremony has had a lot of Hollywood feeling better about itself but one company that might have been more lukewarm about the occasion was Netflix. 

Maestro, its Bradley Cooper-helmed biopic of celebrated conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, looked on paper like a prime Oscar bait. However, its quiet awards season has raised some fresh questions about Netflix’s reputation in Tinseltown.

 

The New York Times on Mike Tyson v Jake Paul

This summer, 58-year-old former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson will take on Jake Paul, a 27-year-old YouTuber whose ten bouts to date have mostly involved other influencers and retired MMA fighters. 

Should it be happening? No. But it will be talked about, not least with Netflix picking up the rights and continuing its experiments in live sort-of sport.

 

The Times on a broken Point Break

Netflix has turbocharged the sports documentary marketplace through series like The Last Dance and Drive to Survive but not every new entry is hitting the same heights: the cancellation of tennis series Point Break suggests a need for fresher, more tailored concepts.

 

Defector on a disappearing F1 story

There have been bigger media stories in Formula 1 so far this season but few quite as curious as this one. 

Last year, cycling journalist Kate Wagner was invited by Ineos for a behind-the-scenes look at the US Grand Prix in Austin. Her much-admired resulting piece was briefly published by Road & Track, before being summarily removed from its website. 

The publication’s editor-in-chief has denied any pressure from there was no pressure from Ineos or anyone else, insisting that the move was a “much more mundane situation than you might have imagined”. The article remains available to read elsewhere.

 

Digiday on advertising and esports

Esports is still getting bigger but its teams and leagues have wobbled recently on the path to profit. As advertisers get savvier about competitive video gaming, an emphasis on community looks increasingly like the winning commercial line. 


Fast Company on Apple’s AI intentions

With other tech leaders stealing a march so far, Apple’s plans in generative artificial intelligence have been the source of continued speculation. 

Peering at the inner workings of its M3 MacBook Air laptop, Fast Company sees hints of a hardware-based solution to come, which could transform the consumer relationship with AI.

 

The Guardian on a Champions League change

On Friday, the grandees of European club football gathered in Switzerland for the latest Uefa Champions League draw. 

But that glitzy occasion will not be repeated for this autumn’s group stage: a new 36-team format is so complex that a traditional manual draw would actually take several hours to complete (rather than just feeling like it). An automated version has been planned instead.

 

The BBC on Belgium’s Tintin-inspired kit

Cultural crossovers are a booming trend in football kit design and Adidas has had some real fun with Belgium’s change strip for Uefa Euro 2024: its blue shirts, brown shorts and white socks are a tribute to the outfit favoured by intrepid comic-book reporter Tintin.

 

From Trippant

Unlocking the value of thought leadership

Thought leadership provides one of the most direct routes to a relevant business audience but to get it right, companies need to craft useful contributions that begin with their customers’ challenges in mind. 

Trippant champions people and storytelling to grow businesses across sport, entertainment and experience. If you want to see what we can do for you, connect with us here.

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