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ONE Championship announces foray into eSports

Chatri Sityodtong makes huge announcement as ONE Championship’s expansion continues

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ONE Championship

The world’s biggest martial arts organisation has plans to become a major player in the burgeoning world of eSports.

At a huge press conference ahead of the upcoming ONE: HEART OF THE LION event in Singapore, ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong announced landmark partnerships with industry leaders including Dentsu, Inc., Razer and Singtel as the look to launch themselves into the eSports market.

The plan, as laid out by Sityodtong, is for ONE Championship to launch ONE eSports, which will become Asia’s largest global eSports championship series. Events will be held in conjunction with ONE Championship’s martial arts events, with the two ventures dovetailing to create a weekend-long double-header of events at key locales across Asia.

ONE has already committed the sum of USD$50 million to the project, which will roll out in 2019, with plans for live events, documentaries, reality shows, all run with the same ethos that has taken ONE Championship to the top of the martial arts world.

“ONE Championship is committed to bringing its same brand of large-scale event production and live broadcast capabilities, unique world-class content production, global media distribution, storytelling expertise, and marketing experience to ONE eSports,” said Sityodtong.

“Our mission is to celebrate Asia’s eSports heroes on the global stage. The establishment of ONE eSports transforms ONE Championship into Asia’s largest producer of millennial sports content.”

The press conference featured statements from Min-Liang Tan, co-founder and CEO of Razer, Ronald Robins, founder and CEO of Mineski Franchise Corporation, and Shuntaro Tanaka, Director, Content Business Design Center of Dentsu Inc.

“This partnership will see us combining our respective areas of expertise and deliver unmatched cross-boundary experiences to our fans,” Tan said.

“We recognise good synergy between martial arts and eSports, making this a fantastic opportunity for both ONE Championship and Dentsu to participate in this growing segment in Asia,” Tanaka explained.

“The growth of the industry is the most important thing. I fought for what I believed in; eSports is the future,” Robins added.

The new venture will also feature ONE Championship’s latest athlete signing. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is a lifelong gamer and a successful streamer on the gaming-based video platform Twitch. He will play a major role as the ONE eSports’ Chief Brand Ambassador.

And with Sityodtong envisioning huge weekend-long events featuring ONE Championship martial arts and eSports events, optimism is high that ONE can deliver events to capture the imagination of young people across the region, just as they have done with their live martial arts events.

“The plan is to create a weekend special in every city that we go to. The first day, martial arts, and the second day, eSports,” he said.

“We have a young crowd who loves all-action. There’s still plenty of work to be done, but we’ll see some mega-events next year.”

Freelance sports writer and MMA reporter with 19 years’ experience in the UK's national media covering major sporting events including UFC world title fights, Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championships, Grand National and the FA Cup Final.

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