The Drone Racing League's TikTok strategy could serve as a lesson for other professional sports on the platform, proving the power of fan insights coupled with crossover content could help widen fan bases.
The six-year-old organization has more than 4 million TikTok followers, racking up several viral videos, including one with over 20 million views. The league is holding its own against other sports leagues, including Major League Soccer (503,000), the NHL (1.8 million) and Formula 1 (3.9 million). According to Chief Marketing Officer Anne Marie Gianutsos, drone racing fans are a particular niche—they love technology, but they aren’t fans of traditional sports, or even esports.
“For leagues looking to take their TikTok to new heights, I’d encourage them to get out of their comfort zone,” said Gianutsos, who advises leagues to showcase their sport with trending sounds that have low, but rising, video counts.
The Drone Racing League is also looking to pair athletes in other sports with DRL pilots for cross-over content.
The league started posting on TikTok in late 2019, but its first viral video came in early 2020. The drone shot of a couple enjoying the Hotel Hubertus pool in Italy has almost 5 million views. TikToks range from snippets of races to conversations with racers, but the favorites tend to be views from the drone whizzing through obstacles.