ONE Championship is diving into the world of esports.
Together with Dentsu Inc., a Japanese advertising agency, ONE Championship will launch ONE eSports in 2019.
ONE Championship plans to invest “up to US$50 million alongside other key partners” into ONE eSports, as they look to cash in on the fast rise of esports in South East Asia and elsewhere around the world.
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, one of several high-profile signings by ONE Championship in recent weeks, has been named Chief Brand Ambassador. Johnson’s passion for gaming is well-known to fans of mixed martial arts, and he has a loyal following on Twitch, a popular live streaming platform.
Starting in 2019, ONE eSports will feature alongside ONE Championship events in select cities. With the promotion planning to host events in Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo, Seoul, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Jakarta, Shanghai, and Beijing in 2019, there is endless potential for ONE eSports in these already established gaming markets.
A logical next step for ONE Championship
ONE Championship’s interest in esports is unsurprising.
Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, declared: “It is with great excitement that I announce ONE eSports, Asia’s largest global eSports Championship Series.”
“We see a natural crossover between martial arts and gaming fans in Asia and an opportunity to bring them together under Asia’s home of millennial live sports.”
Sityodtong’s mention of the potential crossover between martial arts and gaming fans is perhaps the biggest takeaway of this announcement.
With the young male demographic drawn to esports here already in South East Asia, this partnership will also bring more attention to the martial arts events held by ONE Championship in the region.
On a conference call in February this year, Sityodtong stated that the promotion plans to release a ONE Championship video game in the future.
Victor Cui, CEO International of ONE Championship, is also very passionate about esports and the opportunities that exist in South East Asia today.
What to expect from ONE eSports?
ONE eSports is set to launch in 2019 and will “piggyback” off the events in major cities in South East Asia.
While no games have officially been announced just yet, ONE Championship did state that they will feature “multiple blockbuster game titles across Asia.”
Games like Dota 2, League of Legends, RoV, Counter-Strike, Overwatch, and FIFA are especially popular in South East Asia today and will likely feature.
The events and activities will be marketed by ONE eSports, who are set to “produce and broadcast dedicated eSports content in the form of live event broadcasts, documentaries, reality shows, weekly magazine shows, highlights, video blogs, and other unique content.”
ONE Championship athletes and Team Razer eSports athletes will also communicate news and stories to promote ONE eSports to fans and gamers across Asia.
ONE eSports will also combine with Razer, a leading gaming brand, to establish, manage, and stage tournaments and esports events.
Razer Pay will be used as the official (and only) payment platform for the ticketing of ONE eSports events and payments handled via the online store.
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.