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Message: ONE Championship Launches ONE eSports With Demetrious Johnson As Chief Brand Ambassador
On Wednesday, ONE Championship, the Singapore-based martial arts organization announced the launch of a new eSports division. It's called ONE eSports and it will begin operation in 2019.
Brian Mazique Contributor
Demetrious Johnson - (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
The move, a $50 million a joint venture led by ONE Championship, also includes Dentsu, a major Japanese global advertising agency, Razer (one of the most prominent eSports lifestyle brands and creator of Razer zGold instant credit), Singtel (Asia's leading communications technology firm) and others.
The growth of the eSports industry has been astonishing. It has become a billion-dollar industry and ONE clearly sees an avenue to participate while growing their own overall brand. ONE is banking on some crossover between its base product (martial arts) and it's the newest layer of business. It's not an implausible connection, and ONE is turning to one of its biggest talent acquisitions to serve as Chief Brand Ambassador for the new eSports division.
Former UFC flyweight champion, hardcore gamer and fellow Twitch streamer Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson will help to serve as a bridge between the two worlds. In the world of MMA, few if any are better suited for the role. Johnson has had a longstanding endorsement with Microsoft Xbox, and he's been a legitimate member of the gaming community for years. Gamers know he's truly one of them, thus it shouldn't come off as a forced placement. This extension of his brand beyond the cage is perfect for him and further illustrates ONE's commitment to heavily promote its stars.
While the appointment of Johnson is a nice touch, there will need to be more if ONE is to be successful in this space. It seems the decision makers are aware of this:
“It is with great excitement that I announce ONE eSports, Asia's largest global eSports Championship Series," said Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship. "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 eSports heroes on the global stage. The establishment of ONE eSports transforms ONE Championship into Asia’s largest producer of millennial sports content.”
The plan is for ONE eSports to promote and organize events with the most popular titles. The specific games haven't been shared, but we'll learn more about them in the future. ONE eSports schedule will be somewhat aligned with the martial arts master event schedule with competitions for the former following alongside the latter in select cities. Sityodtong mentioned production, and that's seemingly a key component in the organization's plan for ONE eSports. There will be dedicated eSports content designed to create a hub for the ONE eSports community to visit. Live event broadcasts, documentaries, reality shows, weekly magazine shows, highlights, video blogs, and more are all on the docket for ONE eSports content set to broadcast across a variety of global media platforms.
If ONE leans too hard on the crossover appeal without establishing its own niche with eSports fans that might not actually be followers of martial arts, there could be an issue. As long as ONE focuses on the core components that drive successful eSports: competition and community, this could be another power move for the organization.
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