MLB makes push for Gen Z fans via TikTok influencer contest

Detroit News
Associated Press

New York — Major League Baseball is turning from “Let the Kids Play” to “Let the Kids Post.”

In a pitch to gain traction with fans from Generation Z, MLB announced Thursday that it’s launching a campaign on TikTok to identify between five and 10 wannabe content creators to earn status as MLB brand ambassadors, a paid position through the end of the 2021 season.

The influencers — a group MLB is calling the “Creator Class” — will work with the league and be granted access during games to create content highlighting players on and off the field. They’ll be paid per TikTok post through the end of the World Series.

The contest, set to begin Thursday, is the latest bid by MLB to better market itself to younger audiences.

A Sports Business Journal study in 2017 found the average age of MLB’s viewers was 57, and a poll last year by Morning Consult found that just 32% of Gen Z respondents — those born between 1997-2015 — identified as at least a “casual” MLB fan, compared with 50% among all adults.

MLB’s marketing department has launched several initiatives in recent years aimed at younger fans, perhaps most notably the “Let The Kids Play” ad campaign in which the league admonished the game’s “unwritten rules” passed down from older generations.

Subsequent ad campaigns have been similarly player-driven — as opposed to team focused — and Gen Z stars like Ronald Acuña Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Juan Soto have been central figures.

Those players are also frequently featured on MLB’s TikTok account, which has 2.9 million followers.

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