World Wrestling Entertainment, ONE Championship and the Ultimate Fighting Championship had a great year in 2019 particularly in the realm of online video viewership. These combat sports properties boast a strong social media influence and have consistently delivered a stream of online video for mass media consumption.
In 2019, WWE, ONE Championship and the UFC are among the most viewed sports organizations on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. This is according to the latest statistics released by online video analytics authority Tubular Lab.
Based in Singapore, ONE Championship offers its content for free via its Facebook, YouTube and Instagram accounts, as well as through the ONE Super App, which is free for download on any mobile device equipped with Android OS or iOS. A variety of content stacks are available around the clock, including full martial arts bouts, highlights, recaps, analyses, commentary, video blogs and podcasts as well as reality television and even esports.
While ONE Championship is widely recognized as the world’s largest martial arts organization, it has also delved into the world of competitive video gaming with ONE Esports. This relatively new subsidiary offers live tournament streaming, the latest esports news, game reviews, features, walkthrough guides, and in-depth stories on esports athletes and teams.
Esports is the fastest-rising phenomenon in the sports and entertainment world. Revenues exceeded $1 billion and audiences of more than 443 million across the globe in 2019 according to data featured by Forbes.
In addition, ONE Championship also has its own travel and talent-search series in the form of “Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series,” which seeks to find rising young martial arts stars. All of this combined contributes to the company’s rapidly growing presence online, where it has built an entire ecosystem of fresh content across their various IPs.
Furthermore, ONE Championship is slated to premiere “The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” in Q4 of 2020. The organization’s founder, chairman and CEO, Chatri Sityodtong, who is set to star in the show, describes this take on the hit reality television franchise as the toughest version of “The Apprentice” yet.
Despite the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that paralyzed the sports business, martial arts and pro wrestling entertainment properties seem to be in a great spot. In a world ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of people are forced to stay indoors and mass gatherings that pose an imminent risk of spreading the contagion are largely prohibited.
This has hit live sporting events, where thousands of fans gather in close proximity. Many sports leagues were initially opposed to the cancellation of their live shows, and instead explored alternative options including holding audience-free, closed-door events but the worsening COVID-19 situation and intensified restrictions on travel over land, sea, and air have made hosting these events next to impossible.
However, organizations like ONE Championship have flourished, primarily due to their strong online presence. Mixed martial arts is a sport that is well-positioned for success when live sporting events are able to resume, presumably when COVID-19 is under control.
In particular, ONE Championship has enough digital video reach to offset its pause in live events, allowing the organization to remain in mainstream consciousness. Expect viewership to continue to rise, especially during a time when the whole world is glued to their screens.