One Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong on creating a new generation of Asian martial arts heroes, and delivering new audiences to broadcasters.
Alternative sports are taking the broadcast industry by storm. From mixed martial arts to Twenty20 Cricket, the fast pace and excitement of these new forms of sport are opening up new audiences and new revenues for broadcasters globally.
Nowhere is that more obvious than in the rapidly growing world of mixed martial arts, which is claimed to be the fastest growing sport globally.
A major proponent of alternative sports, pointedly mixed martial arts, is One Championship’s chairman and Chief Executive, Chatri Sityodtong.
Sityodtong is a self-made multimillionaire entrepreneur and lifelong martial artist from Thailand.
He now runs One Championship, Asia’s largest sports media property in history with a global broadcast to over one billion potential viewers across 128 countries around the world.
Sityodtong has over 30 years of martial arts experience as a student, a fighter, an instructor and a coach.
His experience in the martial world influence Sityodtong’s approach to One Championship, and is a significant reason for the company’s success, particularly throughout Asia.
“We are experiencing a commercial revolution in the sports industry.”
Sityodtong comments: “Martial arts has taught me many great lessons in life, not the least of which is honour, perseverance, respect and gratitude. To understand the Asian marketplace is to understand these values because Asia holds these principles near and dear to its heart.
“Martial arts has been home in Asia for the past 5,000 years. Every Asian nation has a unique and ancient martial art that they practice. It is our goal to reintroduce martial arts back into the fabric of daily society.”
As to who is watching these alternative sports, and why are they growing in popularity, Sityodtong says it is the Millennial generation, who are looking for heroes to identify with.
He explains: “We are hitting the key 18 to 35 demographic because I think martial arts resonates with fans on a human level. Deep down inside, everyone wants to be a hero. We have built local Asian martial arts heroes for fans to get behind and root for. Fans relate to their human stories of bravery and courage and are proud of their excellence and mastery of skill. This has massive long term appeal because the value isn’t just on the surface, it goes way beneath and hits the human core.”
These newer sports mean new audiences and more money for broadcasters and sponsors, says Sityodtong: “It presents a whole new audience and a myriad of opportunities for sponsorships and partnerships.
“Companies love to associate themselves with winning and greatness, and I think that is commonplace in mixed martial arts. We have stories of triumph and victory everyday in martial arts, and with the amount of fans tuning in to watch our content, broadcasters and sponsors are all scrambling to get into that. It is also important to note that MMA is the fastest rising sport in the world.”
He adds that mixed martial arts is the trailblazer for a host of new opportunities for sports broadcasters: “I think we are experiencing a commercial revolution in the sports industry due to the rise of mixed martial arts.
”When you take a step back and view it from afar, you’ll realise that very few sports can replicate the action and adrenaline of a live martial arts event, especially more so with our live One Championship events. Each event is built at a fever pitch from start to finish and the excitement is off the charts,” he concludes.
IBC2017 Loren Mack Vice President, PR & Communications, One Championship will be speaking in the session Border Crossings: How alternative thinking is taking sports into new formats, sponsorships, audiences and countries