Singapore’s ONE Championship, partners to invest $50m in eSports venture

Chatri Sityodtong, founder and chairman of ONE Championship

Singapore’s mixed martial arts media firm ONE Championship plans to invest up to $50 million together with its partners to create a global eSports series, the company said in an announcement.

ONE Championship and Japan’s largest global advertising agency, Dentsu Inc, have forged a joint venture — ONE eSports — in 2019. The new venture has already signed partnership deals with Razer and Singtel, among others.

The investment by the two companies seeks to turn ONE eSports into “Asia’s largest global eSports Championship Series” that will feature multiple blockbuster game titles across Asia and hold a number of eSports events held alongside ONE Championship martial arts events in 2019.

ONE Championship said ONE eSports will piggyback its 30-event martial arts championship that will be staged across a number of Asian cities Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo, Seoul, Jakarta, Shanghai, Beijing, Manila, Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City.

Moreover, ONE eSports will also 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 across its global media broadcast platform in 138 countries.

“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,” said ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.

As ONE eSports’ marketing partner, Japan’s Dentsu will aim to tap Japanese game developers’ interest in eSports expansion across Asia. It said it will also help lead ONE eSports’ efforts to hold events across Japan.

Meanwhile, Razer will contribute by leveraging its ecosystem of hardware, software, and services to provide eSports technical and organisation know-how, payments platform for ticketing and marketing assistance.

ONE eSports will also explore working with the Singtel Group in a partnership that will potentially include joint eSports marketing efforts, production and distribution of eSports content through the Singtel Group’s platforms, telco data bundle plans and online and offline payment services through direct carrier billing and telco wallets.

ONE Championship is the organiser of MMA fights such as Grit and Glory in Jakarta, Unstoppable Dreams in Singapore and Battle for the Heavens in Shanghai. It has earlier revealed plans to expand its events, partnership deals and digital offerings.

Led by former MMA champion Sityodtong, ONE closed a $166-million Series D round led by Sequoia Capital last month.

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