Meet Sketch, the streamer taking over the sports world

Meet Sketch, the streamer taking over the sports world
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If you’re into sports, you’ve likely heard “What’s up, brother?” on your feed. And you might’ve heard it from one of your favorite athletes, like Luka Doncic, or a middle-aged GM of the Tampa Bay Bucs.

You’d be forgiven if you have zero idea what’s going on with that. TL;DR: It’s referencing a streamer named Sketch, who has become wildly popular in sports. He’s a video game streamer with a very specific style — an alter ego, really — and a bevy of catchphrases, like the aforementioned, “What’s up, brother.” He’s taken off online and now seems like a Big Deal as his career grows.

Here are the basics and the background of Sketch.

Who is Sketch?

I’m not a huge consumer of streamers, so I first came across Sketch — real name Kylie Cox, age around 25 or so — via TikTok.

He has a distinct look and voice. Typically speaking, he’s wearing a Houston Texans jersey, over-ear headphones, glasses, and sporting a buzzcut. His Twitch page, thesketchreal, has more than 700K followers as of Friday. He’s bigger on TikTok with over 1.6 million followers. Each of his videos racks up millions of views. You’ll often see him streaming live to TikTok, playing the NFL game Madden.

Since blowing up he’s been all over: popular podcasts, celebrity streams, the whole bit. He’s also gotten the TikTok treatment, where fans clip and repost just about everything he does.

Why is he popular?

In short, he’s popular because he’s pretty entertaining. Frankly, I’m not clear how good he is at games. I’m not a huge gamer so it’s difficult to judge. But that’s not why people tune in and share his clips. It’s more his personality and persona. He’s both over the top — yelling, cursing, screaming football-speak play-calls at his virtual players — while keeping a monotone, high-pitched speaking voice. It’s a strange brew of jock, nerdy quips, and back-of-the-classroom clownery. He’s also quick-witted in a nervous way and has developed a specific language of sorts.

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Here are a few of his catchphrases:

  • “What’s up, brother?” — a greeting typically said in a high voice and with a number one in the air

  • “Special teams. Special plays. Special players.” — complimenting his virtual team

  • “Tuesday! Tuesday!” — that’s football speak for tempo, telling his players to hurry up

  • [Janky bird-esque flapping] — a random thing he does while “play-calling”

  • “Sorry for cussing.” — he says this one a lot because he tends to cuss

He’s popular because he’s particular. He squints and gesticulates and twitches. You see Sketch, you remember him. Looking through clips, he’s also popular because he says some out-of-pocket stuff. Crassness works, especially online.

Who is he popular with?

Sketch has gotten super popular and, for lack of a better term, has gone mainstream in the men’s sporting world. There was a trend on TikTok where one partner, typically a woman, would say to the other, typically a man, “What’s up, brother?” Lots of men would respond in a Sketch voice, “What’s up, brother!”

That trend has been adopted by tons of pro sports teams and players, such as the Dallas Mavericks, Tennessee Titans, the Final Four teams in March Madness, the NFL, and countless others.

There was yet another trend that began with Sketch telling fellow streamer Jynxi that he had motion “since birf.”

Athletes like Bryce Harper have celebrated like Sketch, and he’s been referenced in the opening of SportsCenter. Sketch is filming videos playing real football with the IRL Houston Texans.

In short, this kid has taken over the sports internet. So much so that actual athletes are referencing him just about every day. We’ll see if Sketch can turn his virality into a long-term streaming career.

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But right now he’s about as big as it gets in the streaming world. That’s what’s up, brother.

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