eSports & Gaming

ONE Championship unveils US$50m esports tournament

Asian martial arts organisation announces gaming venture with Dentsu, Razer and Singtel.

by Sam Carp

ONE Championship unveils US$50m esports tournament

Singapore-based martial arts promotion ONE Championship has announced a new esports tournament in a US$50 million joint venture with Japanese advertising agency Dentsu.

ONE eSports, which will launch in 2019, also counts gaming lifestyle brand Razer and Singaporean telco Singtel among its slate of investors.

The initiative will feature various game titles and stage a number of esports competitions alongside ONE’s martial arts events throughout next year. It has not yet been revealed how many competitive gaming events will take place or where they will be held, but ONE said the venture will ‘piggyback’ off its schedule in major cities such as Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo, Seoul, Jakarta, Shanghai, and several others. 

The new project is set to be promoted through an extensive content offering, including live event broadcasts, documentaries, reality shows, weekly magazine shows, highlights and video blogs. In addition, recently-signed ONE athlete Demetrious Johnson, who is a renowned streamer on Amazon-owned platform Twitch, will serve as the chief brand ambassador for the company’s esports division. 

“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’s chairman and chief executive Chatri Sityodtong.

“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.”  

Esports tournaments have grown in popularity in recent years, with various gaming competitions being launched to engage millennial audiences. Esports is growing particularly quickly in Asia, with China being the world’s largest gaming market, where Tencent recently estimated that the industry will be worth US$1.5 billion by 2020.