ONE Championship ventures into e-sports, looks to invest US$50m

ONE Championship has partnered Dentsu to jointly launch the e-sports championship series "ONE eSports" next year. This is done alongside other industry partners including Razer and Singtel Group. The sports media property also intends to lead a plan to invest up to US$50 million, alongside other key partners, into ONE eSports.

ONE eSports will feature multiple popular game titles across Asia and hold a number of e-sports events alongside ONE Championship martial arts events in 2019. It will also produce and broadcast dedicated e-sports content in the form of live event broadcasts, documentaries, reality shows, weekly magazine shows, highlights and video blogs, among others, across its global media broadcast platform in 138 countries.

Leading the ONE eSports efforts as chief brand ambassador is ONE Championship athlete Demetrious Johnson. ONE eSports will leverage Dentsu and Dentsu Aegis as its preferred marketing agencies for strategic marketing formulation and sponsorships around the world.

Meanwhile, as the dedicated marketing partner of the Japan eSports Union (JeSU), Dentsu will be responsible for harvesting Japanese game developers' desire to expand in eSports across Asia via ONE eSports. The agency will also help to lead ONE eSports' efforts to hold events across Japan.

As part of its partnership, ONE eSports will collaborate with Razer to explore joint marketing opportunities using Team Razer e-sports athletes as well as ONE Championship athletes to drive communication and engagement to all martial arts fans and gamers across Asia. Both companies will also partner to develop, manage, and organise an e-sports tournament or series. Additionally, eSports Mogul, a Razer portfolio company, will provide the technical know-how and innovation for the development of an online platform to organize, manage, and stage online e-sports events and tournaments. Razer Pay will also serve as the payment platform for the ticketing of ONE eSports tournaments, as well as for the online sale of related merchandise and content.

For Singtel, the collaboration with ONE eSports across Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and India will potentially include joint e-sports marketing efforts, production and distribution of e-sports content. This will be done through Singtel Group's platforms, telco data bundle plans and online and offline payment services through direct carrier billing and telco wallets. This is an extension of ONE Championship’s ongoing collaboration with the group in mixed martial arts events.

Chatri Sityodtong (pictured), chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, said “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. 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. Our mission is to celebrate Asia's e-sports heroes on the global stage.”

“We recognise good synergy between martial arts and e-sports, making this a fantastic opportunity for both ONE Championship and Dentsu to participate in this growing segment in Asia, as well as leverage multiple content platforms for additional sales and business opportunities," Shuntaro Tanaka, director, content business design center of Dentsu, said.

Meanwhile, co-founder and CEO of Razer, Tan Min-Liang, said that like Razer, ONE Championship is at the forefront of a new digital entertainment revolution that delivers the sporting content that Millennials seek. CEO International of Singtel, Arthur Lang, said it has had a great partnership with ONE Championship since the joint launch of its app in May, as well as other marketing collaborations across its regional footprint. It looks to further engage with the gaming community through this partnership and increase its involvement in e-sports.