VidCon was first held in 2010, and in its earliest years it was closely aligned with YouTube. And YouTube, looking to support the event for digital video creators, has been the lead sponsor for the confab’s events going back to 2013.
This year, it’s different: TikTok has signed on as the title sponsor for VidCon US 2021, which is set to return to the Anaheim Convention Center Oct. 21-24. YouTube said it will still be in the mix among the secondary sponsors, but the change marks a shift in the event — and more broadly, the creator economy — to embrace multiple platforms.
The sponsorship deal “strengthens TikTok’s commitment to the creator community, leveraging VidCon’s core audience of creators, fans, and industry partners as they gather together at the annual event,” VidCon said in a statement.
A YouTube rep said in a statement that it “thoughtfully worked through our VidCon plans months ago” with the top priority being the safety of creators, fans and employees amid the uncertainty of large gatherings and COVID-19 restrictions. “We are excited to continue our investment in our creators and VidCon as we have done since 2013 through new and different opportunities as part of the overall program,” the YouTube spokeswoman said. “We’ll be sharing our involvement shortly.”
As the title sponsor, TikTok will have top talent and execs participating in all three of VidCon’s tracks (Community, Creator and Industry) and will have the keynote address spot. It also gets sponsorship for some of the expo hall stages at the convention center. TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, first officially participated at the U.S. VidCon convention in 2019 (although predecessor app Musical.ly app held a launch event for its livestreaming app at VidCon in 2016).
VidCon’s slate of featured creators confirmed to attend include the following TikTok stars (and first-time VidCon featured creators): Andre Swilley, Sarah Lugor, Devon Rodriguez, Alex Warren, Kallmekris, Jasminexgonzalez, Benji Krol, Michael Le, Blesiv, Ben De Almeida, Eitan Bernath, Enoch True, Makayla Did, Yung Astroo, CelinaSpookyBoo and Julian Bass. They join previously confirmed creators including Spencer X, Brent Rivera, Taylor Cassidy, Isra Hirsi, MeganPlays, Alex Wassabi, Sofie Dossi, and more.
“Creators are the heart of TikTok and VidCon is an important, community-building celebration for them,” Nick Tran, TikTok’s head of global marketing, said in a statement. “We’ve expanded our relationship with VidCon to build upon our commitment to our creators, providing them with opportunities for learning, networking, and content collaborations at the event. We look forward to seeing some of our favorite creators and meeting news ones, in real life.”
After canceling the in-person convention in 2020, ViacomCBS-owned VidCon announced the return to Anaheim for the fall of 2021, which for the first time ever will offer a digital and in-person ticketing option. Tickets will be available beginning June 22.