#PRAwards 2021 spills: How ONE Championship made headlines despite the pandemic

Securing the silver award in for PR Team of the Year (Brand) in the recent MARKETING-INTERACTIVE PR Awards was ONE Championship. One Championship showcased the power of storytelling and the strong relationship it developed with media outlets worldwide through hard work. The ONE PR team managed to keep the momentum of news coverage throughout the year, through various activities and news pitches.  

Prior to its winning, ONE Championship also made the news in 2020 for its global partnership with Facebook covering distribution of exclusive content on Facebook Watch under the ONE Esports Facebook Gaming channel. The custom content included unique camera angles, behind-the-scenes footage, and more.

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, ONE Championship's PR Team delved into its proudest achievements of the year 2020 and shared what could be expected from the company in the year 2021.

This interview is done as part of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s winners and finalists’ interview series for PR Awards 2021. To find out more about the awards, click here.

What would you say was the biggest accomplishment for the whole PR/communications community in 2020?

With the world dealing with an unprecedented global pandemic, the majority of media was focused on COVID-19 related news. From a PR perspective, our challenge was to continue our coverage on martial arts-related content while positioning stories in tune with the situation.

In 2020, the PR and communications community was forced to step outside the box and explore creative angles that they did not normally cover.

What would you say was your proudest achievement of the year?

We built stronger relationships with our key media across our core markets and were able to reap the rewards. In total, across seven key markets (Global, United States, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand), every month of 2020 outperformed the same month in 2019 year-over-year. We’ve also been able to secure consistent coverage around the filming, production, and airing of “The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” in the midst of a pandemic. 

What are some communications trends you see carrying on post-pandemic?

Prior to the pandemic, there was already a sharp pivot towards going fully digital, and COVID-19 expedited the shift. Online business conferences, virtual press conferences, and exclusive interviews on platforms such as Teams and Zoom will all continue going strong even when in-person interactions are viable once again. We have all grown accustomed to remote office solutions and collaborating in digital spaces.

How will the role of communications professionals evolve as we move into a rather uncertain future?

Greater emphasis will be placed on digital solutions and how one performs in remote environments. Dedicated attention given to partners and clients through these mediums will be challenged in the absence of face-to-face interactions. 

What can we expect from your company in 2021?

ONE Championship will continue showcasing the best martial arts action in the world but will operate our live events out of Singapore, for now, to maintain the highest standards in COVID safety for our athletes and fans. That being said, fans can expect a heavier focus on markets such as the US and China, as we showcased in April with our US-focused "ONE on TNT" series. Through all of our content stacks, including ONE Esports and The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition, we will continue to showcase our passion for storytelling, particularly stories that will inspire and uplift the human spirit during these difficult times.