TikTok taps Miley Cyrus to star in tailgate Super Bowl show
TikTok is making a play for the Super Bowl with a virtual tailgate party on Feb. 7 from Tampa Bay, starring Miley Cyrus.
Today, TikTok, the fast-growing Chinese-owned video app, announced its contribution to Super Bowl Sunday with the partnership with the National Football League. The NFL’s TikTok account will stream from the game starting at 2:30 p.m. EST, and portions of the show will make it into pregame coverage on CBS, according to TikTok. The show is called the “NFL TikTok Tailgate at Super Bowl LV.”
Cyrus is the headliner, coming off her latest album drop in November, “Plastic Hearts.” TikTok says Cyrus has 8.5 million followers on the app. “The NFL TikTok Tailgate will feature special guests from the NFL, TikTok creators, surprise musical performances, game day cooking segments, and much more,” TikTok said in its announcement.
TikTok’s affiliation with the game is a sign that the winds are changing in its favor, after a tumultuous 2020, where it was in a protracted legal fight with the U.S. government. The Trump administration, which left office this month, tried to get TikTok banned in the U.S., claiming it was a national security threat. Ex-President Donald Trump tried to force a sale of TikTok’s U.S. holdings, where it has about 100 million active users.
The legal fight that ensued made business difficult for TikTok as major U.S. entities in advertising, sports, media and entertainment were concerned about its uncertain status. Sports leagues have been among the partners that TikTok has chased over the past two years, and they have built strong ties.
In 2019, the NFL officially embraced TikTok by launching its first league account, and said it would post videos there daily. In 2018, TikTok partnered with the National Basketball Association, and last year, TikTok became a World Series advertiser for the first time, buying ad space to promote one of the biggest moments of the year on the app. TikTok spun the widely shared video of Nathan Apodaca skateboarding to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” into a national TV spot.
TikTok has been promoting its NFL ties all season, too. In December, it touted fans of the sport that were finding massive followings like “@footballbros.” The NFL has been engaging these accounts in comments on their videos. “Meaningful, authentic connection is everything on TikTok, and the NFL has embraced this and pioneered fan engagement strategies for sports leagues on the platform,” TikTok said in December.