If you have not yet heard of ONE Championship, then maybe it’s time you have. It is widely seen as the world’s second biggest Mixed Martial Arts event. It pays top money to fighters and with a name like that, it can’t be long before it will not be so happy about being the world’s second biggest.

The ONE Championship blurb says, “ONE Championship is Asia’s largest sports media property, backed by the most Fortune 500 partners in Asia and broadcast to over 1 billion viewers worldwide. Stay tuned as ONE goes BIG in 2017!

ONE FC is a Singapore-based mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion which was launched on July 14, 2011 by multimillionaire entrepreneur, Chatri Sityodtong and former ESPN Star Sports senior executive, Victor Cui. According to CNBC, it’s Asia’s largest media broadcasting organization to over a billion homes.

Echoes of PRIDE FC, the much missed Japanese mixed martial arts promotion, must be seen in this as a relative newcomer. But the potential in Asia for MMA has always been huge. The homeland of most the martial arts systems we are familiar with, and an obvious outlet for the many Eastern kickboxers who wish to make the transition to MMA, with purses that are far in excess of what they would receive in the ring ONE Championship, could be real competition for the UFC. Perhaps coming from a direction many had not expected, but again with the PRIDE FC comparison, maybe the obvious threat to the UFC’s dominance was always going to come from the east. The ONE Championship heavyweight champion is ex UFC fighter, Brandon Vera and Light Heavyweight Brazilian BJJ Star, Roger Gracie. It’s only a matter of time before ONE Championship attracts more Western MMA stars who would perhaps offer a greater threat to those currently holding UFC gold.

An interesting question on this is whether we are entering the age when Unification fights between MMA organizations could start to occur? It has been a feature at the top of Boxing for many years but never truly happened in MMA.

The funding available to ONE Championship and global business interests certainly give it the strength that could rival the UFC. While it’s true that the household name status of the American brand would be hard to topple it, it would maybe take less than many would think to see a shift of power, at least in the educated MMA public eyes if major Western MMA stars decided the grass was greener in the east.

A recent article released by the company explains many of its partners are global brands with Marvel and Disney getting in on the act.

Mainstream sports leagues and big name sponsorships are not new in the world of sports marketing. Organizations like the NBA or FIFA regularly collaborate with global brands in various marketing efforts. However, one organization is taking sports marketing to the next level with fresh initiatives.

One Championship, a mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion based in Asia, is implementing creative new ways to feature their partner brands on their TV and digital platforms.

The organization recently delivered a complete 360-degree marketing solution in Asia for Marvel’s movie launch of Captain America: Civil War.

While other organizations have implemented vanilla marketing campaigns, One aims to provide partners with a complete breadth of options which include refreshing on-ground activation. This is made possible because of ONE Championship’s tremendous global audience reach.

Widely considered the second largest MMA promotion in the world, One Championship is broadcast to a potential 1-billion homes in over 118 countries worldwide, holding at least one live pay-per-view event every month.

Led by CEO of One Championship Victor Cui, who is a former senior executive at ESPN Star Sports, the company has skyrocketed from its humble beginnings in 2011 to now five years later transformed into the largest sports media property in Asian history.

“MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world, particularly here in Asia where we have laid the groundwork to successfully turn the organization into a household name,” said Cui. “Our audience reach is so massive because we connect with our fans on a personal level. We want to capitalize on this reach to put our partners in the best position to further their brands.”

With One Championship consistently hitting the sweet spot of the key 18-45 demographic, various big name companies have worked out deals with ONE including Disney, LG, Kawasaki, Panasonic, Haier, NagaWorld, Universal Music Group and Tune Talk, to name a few.

“With Marvel, we ran a myriad of exciting marketing initiatives like fan engagement activities at popular shopping malls, TV ads, and event-level promotion,” said Cui.

“We had our One Championship athletes come out to the Captain America displays to meet and greet with fans and asked them to choose their side, red or blue, which represents the core premise of Captain America: Civil War.

“We also ran a global television campaign with promotional advertisements on major cable networks in order to maximize our reach with our TV partners. We ran in-arena promotions and branded our ONE Championship cage with original artwork and logos both from Marvel and Captain America. We even had our own cage announcer integrate ad plugs into his pre-fight spiel.

“Aside from this, our website at onefc.com, which draws a massive amount of web traffic from all over the world was decked out with Captain America: Civil War movie banners and advertisements. This has all been essential to our 360-degree approach to fully maximize our marketing potential.”

Cui however attributes the success of One to its content and its extremely loyal fan base that is growing by the number every single day. Although MMA isn’t as big as other mainstream sports like basketball and football as of yet, it is currently developing at a rapid pace and is the world’s fastest rising sport. One has been pivotal in its development in Asia.

Today, the company is on a fast track to a billion-dollar valuation within the next two years, as well as an IPO. They recently landed an investment deal with financial firm Heliconia Capital, giving the company access to a massive financial reservoir. This landmark investment, Cui says, will take One Championship to the next level.

“With this we have increased capabilities to hold even more live events over the course of the next few years,” said Cui. “Aside from hitting our go-to markets like Malaysia and the Philippines, we will also expand into new markets like Vietnam, Korea and Japan.

“It also gives us the tools we need for our expansion into the tremendously promising Chinese market. We have already established corporate offices in Beijing and Shanghai as well as hired key leadership personnel to put us in the best position to succeed.”

One’s rapidly growing presence in the region and in the entire world has made it the perfect strategic marketing partner for companies looking to benefit from its worldwide audience.

Original Source: Marketing Interactive.com

Alex Wright Alex Wright is well known in the United Kingdom from his extensive work in the Mixed Martial Arts Industry for over a decade. He's been involved as a coach, fighter and industry mogul since around 2000 and now heads up the European division for REVGEAR Sports.