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Last Updated : Feb 17, 2020 10:16 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Global sports firm ONE Championship betting big on Indian market

Talking to Moneycontrol, Hari Vijayarajan, Chief Commercial Officer, ONE Championship, shared global viewership data for both television and digital.


The growing popularity of non-cricket sports properties has shown that Indian audience is not averse to watching other sports disciplines.

To tap this audience, ONE Championship, a global sports company promoting Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), is looking at ways to ensure more people get hooked to this fast-paced combat sport.

Talking to Moneycontrol, Hari Vijayarajan, Chief Commercial Officer, ONE Championship, shared global viewership data for both television and digital.

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"Our Facebook handle records 370 million monthly unique viewers and the ONE Championship handle (Facebook + Instagram) has 25 million followers. Our average match viewership is 30 million people. Our peak viewership last year for 100th event was 87 million people. We want this number to be 100 million in 18-24 months per live match. And we expect a lot of these numbers are going to come from India," he said.

The company last year in April had signed a deal with Star Sports to broadcast its content and in eight months they have seen significant consumption.

"In eight months, we saw 26x increase in the cumulative reach since we started the partnership across all live and non-live programs on Star Sports network as well as Hotstar. The 100th event we did in Tokyo where we had Arjan Bhullar representing India that time, we saw 4.2x lift versus an average reach for a match," he said.

The company, which has on board athletes like Ritu Phogat, Arjan Bhullar, Puja Tomar, is expecting 2020 to be a breakout year.

In addition, for next rising star, they are going to work with Star to go into the grassroots and tell people that MMA is a viable career option.

When it comes to combat sports or MMA, there is an established fanbase in India. UFC or Ultimate Fighting Championship reportedly has accumulated 100 million viewers in India.

While combat sports is still nascent in India, it has fastest growth trajectory, said Vijayarajan.

This is why he also believes that this is the year to build reach and frequency in India.

"As a media property we know what works in India --- it is a mix of sports and entertainment. Hence, we are confident that we will attract the mainstream audience in India," said Vijayarajan.

And digital as a medium will help in this growth.

For ONE Championship, 80 percent of their audience is millennial. And we know what is the preferred medium for this group - online especially mobile.

So, along with live and non-live matches, the company is creating a lot of shoulder content including stories of the athletes to engage audience. Around 30 to 40 short form videos are created that are localised by the company.

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First Published on Feb 12, 2020 07:13 pm

tags #Sports

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