ONE Championship is growing rapidly and recently passed several landmarks, as outlined by its chairman and founder Chatri Sityodtong. The organization’s most recent event in the Philippines broke all existing records for viewership of an MMA show and it is a pattern which is being repeated all over the region.
According to ABS CBN, the ONE Championship card at the MOA Arena in Manila last month was watched by more people than any MMA event in the country’s history. Sityodtong says a strategy of prioritizing domestic TV deals over the Pay-Per-View market is starting to pay dividends.
“We get about 10 million to 30 million people tuning in for every show and those numbers are growing exponentially. ONE Championship is on free to air TV across Asia and free to air TV has the biggest footprint and reach by far in Asia. Believe it or not, most Asians still watch old school TV. Paid TV still has very low penetration in Asia.”
The ONE: Kings of Destiny event in Manila was headlined by the recently crowned lightweight champion Eduard Folayang. ONE Championship shareholder Manny Pacquiao had a front row seat, as the Filipino successfully defended his belt with a hard-fought decision win over Ev Ting.
It was the ninth event ONE Championship has held in Manila and was shown on the free-to-air S+A channel. Even Sityodtong was surprised by how successful the broadcast was.
“The numbers for that show were massive. We broke all records. Our peak ratings share was 26 percent, as per Nielsen. To put that into perspective, UFC 205, which was the UFC’s biggest show last year, only captured a 6 to 7 percent ratings share in the Philippines.”
While ONE Championship’s decade long deal with Fox Sports was well publicized, the promotion has also been quietly securing domestic TV deals all over Asia and beyond. Bars across the region frequently have the fights playing in the background and Sityodtong says thousands of hours of footage are being broadcast.
“Without a doubt, ONE Championship is now Asia's largest sports media property in history. There are no pan-Asian sports media properties, except for ONE Championship. ONE Championship is now broadcast anywhere from 100 hours to 1,800 hours per year per key country in Asia. No other sports media property comes close to those hours or to our TV ratings.”
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