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Putting on the Coat of Fashion, MLB Embraces China's New Generation

By John 02 Jul 2019

The Sports-Entertainment crossover has become a marketing method used by many sporting events and leagues to attract new users, with the hope of gaining more potential users and promoting brand expansion. There are concepts that have been well received by users, as well as cases that have triggered some debate. Recently, the MLB (Major League Baseball) held the "MLB Perfect Pitch 2019 Hip-Hop Challenge”, which attracted massive attention from the younger generations by integrating popular cultural elements of baseball and hip-hop.

Centennial Store Settles Down to Douyin and Joins Young People with Dance

On June 28, the "MLB Perfect Pitch 2019" Hip-Hop Challenge was launched due to the enthusiastic response of Viho’s fans. The event is hosted by MLB, with China's most popular hip-hop dancer Viho as the initiator, inviting users to challenge and imitate his baseball-inspired dances. This is the first MLB-authorized baseball + Hip-Hop challenge in China, which announced the entry of MLB on Douyin to "dance" with the young Chinese fan base. 

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a North American professional sports league with a century-old history and has more than 200 million fans in North America. Douyin has become one of the most popular short video platforms in China within 3 short years of its inception in September 2016. Its DAU have exceeded 250 million, with its main users being the post-90s generation and millennials.

The number of users obtained in 3 years is equal to the entire user group of the 100-year-old North American "old store". This high number of users should make any brand interested, and MLB will certainly capitalize on this enormous opportunity. Therefore, with summer break approaching, MLB launched this event with the cooperation of hip-hop superstar Viho, using dance to successfully "connect" with Chinese youth on this 3-year-old platform. This is without a doubt sending a signal: MLB is actively stepping out of their comfort zone and going beyond their original audience group and embracing the new wave of young Chinese individuals. 

Fusion Reaction Triggered by Fusion of Multiple Trendy Elements

Baseball is currently not as popular as basketball or table tennis among the Chinese population, but MLB baseball hats are essentially must-haves for young Chinese people, as they appear frequently in popular "street dance" and "hip-hop" variety shows. The "MLB Perfect Pitch 2019" targets the integration of baseball with trendy elements such as hip-hop, music, and fashion, producing amazing reactions. In just two days after the launch of the event, the total VV under this topic on the Douyin platform exceeded 13 million, and the total PV of the Weibo topic broke 2 million with follow-up by dance KOLs from millions of fans.

When sports, dance, fashion, music and entertainment meet the most popular short video platform in China, coupled with the traffic and influence of entertainment stars, baseball is no longer a sports cultural consumer product for baseball fans only. Instead, it has become a pan-entertainment and pan-sports consumer product that combines sports fashion and entertainment elements that successfully penetrate the young Chinese fan base. 

Through this crossover interaction between baseball and hip-hop, MLB combines sports with entertainment and builds a huge pool of young users. While continuously broadening the cultural boundaries of baseball, MLB also establishes a crossover marketing platform that connects the brand with the post-90s generation and the millennials, while also building up a youthful brand image and conforms to the spirit of the times.

Tags: Douyin MLB
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