Mixed martial arts promoter ONE Championship will launch a competitive esports series in 2019.
Also on board is Japan’s Dentsu public relations firm, while Razer and Singtel will provide additional backing.
The One eSports series will feature multiple games, with competitions to be staged in conjunction with ONE Championship MMA events in Asia.
The Singapore-based company will also produce gaming content for a variety platforms, running the gamut from esport documentaries to reality TV programming.
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“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 Chatri Sityodtong, CEO of ONE Championship.
“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.”
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Razer, one of Asia’s leading manufacturers of gaming hardware, recently matched the Malaysian government’s US $2.4 million budget contribution towards the development of esports in the region.
The firm’s subsidiary brand, eSports Mogul, will play a significant role in establishing ONE’s logistical and organisational resources.
Telecom giant Singtel is no stranger to the professional gaming industry, having launched the PVP eSports Championship earlier this year.
Dentsu will use its standing in the Japanese marketplace to promote and expand the ONE eSports brand throughout Asia.
“We recognize good synergy between martial arts and esports, making this a fantastic opportunity for both ONE Championship and Dentsu to participate in this growing segment in Asia, as well as leverage multiple content platforms for additional sales and business opportunities,” said Dentsu director Shuntaro Tanaka.
ONE Championship, now valued at around US $1 billion, is committing $50m of its own capital towards the project.
The promoter has also named MMA athlete Demetrious Johnson as brand ambassador for ONE eSports.