NHL expands digital presence with Douyin

13 Mar 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

The National Hockey League (NHL) has officially launched on digital platforms Douyin and Jinri Toutiao, both owned by Chinese internet technology company ByteDance, to deliver more news and entertainment to its fanbase in China.

Douyin is the regional version of ByteDance's TikTok social media channel, which continues to grow at a rapid rate in many international markets.

The short-form video-based platform is among the most downloaded smartphone apps worldwide.

Sister platform Jinri Toutiao is a news aggregator with 700+ million users in China.

The NHL's move to launch on Douyin and Jinri Toutiao will expand the organisation's digital portfolio in China to four platforms, adding to active accounts on WeChat and Weibo.

The league has experienced strong growth on social media in China in the past 12 months. With more than 500,000 followers on popular microblogging platform, Weibo, it is the nation's fastest-growing US sports league after the NBA.

“It’s important for us to see more people in China becoming interested in hockey,” said David Proper, NHL Executive Vice President of Media & International Strategy.

“By launching on Tik Tok and Toutiao, we plan to offer additional entertaining and localised content for all hockey and Winter sports fans. 

“China is a market we’re very committed to and these new platforms represent another step in our journey.”

The NHL has played four preseason games in China in the last two years. 

In 2017, the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks played games in Shanghai and Beijing, while in 2018, the Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames competed in Shenzhen and Beijing.

NHL games are currently available to Chinese fans via digital broadcast partner Tencent and on CCTV5+ for broadcast TV.