Last week, I was invited to sit down with President Barack Obama for a private meeting in his hotel suite…
The Next Big Thing
The profound impact on the world by the twin forces of globalization and digitalization cannot be overstated. Companies that adeptly harness the power of these forces will inevitably find themselves with limitless opportunities and boundless growth. And ONE Championship is one of these companies. I do not use those words lightly. For these companies, the world is truly their oyster (as the chart of the biggest US companies illustrates below). A confluence of these two forces, coupled with some megatrends (such as the accelerating importance of live sports content, the incredible rise of smart mobile devices, the critical inflection point of Asian GDP per capita, the dawn of Asian consumption, and a few others), has already propelled ONE Championship into becoming Asia’s largest global sports media property in history. And it is still only the beginning of the story.
It might sound crazy, but I truly believe in my heart that ONE Championship will become the largest sports media property in the world. I plan to dedicate the rest of my life to seeing this vision come to fruition. Not only does ONE Championship have the winds of globalization and digitalization in its favor, but ONE Championship also has a “mobile first, digital first” approach that will capitalize on these trends. ONE Championship’s live fights are short-form, exciting, and entertaining content with “edge-of-your-seat” unpredictable outcomes, making our content perfect for mobile and digital. 72% of our fights end within a few minutes. Other sports properties have only long-form content that spans an hour or more for the entirety of a game or match, making the content very unfriendly for mobile. Currently, the NFL is the most valuable sports media property in the world with a valuation of US$75 billion. However, the NFL is a single country sport in a country with a population of 325 million. The growth opportunities for the NFL are limited; no one plays American football anywhere in the world, except for the US. American football has a very low probability of becoming mainstream in other countries. For a sport to become mainstream, it must be a part of the daily fabric of society, culture, tradition, and values. With a population of 4.4 billion people in Asia, the market opportunity for martial arts is massive. Asia is martial arts. Martial arts is Asia. No one has ever attempted to unify the entire continent with a single sports media property.
ONE Championship is a celebration of Asia’s greatest cultural treasure and its deep-rooted Asian values of integrity, humility, honor, respect, discipline, courage, and compassion. ONE Championship, the Home of Martial Arts, has experienced record-breaking growth rates – at scale – that has never been seen before in the history of the global sports media industry.
For perspective and context below, Formula One was started in 1950 and ONE Championship launched in 2011. Today, they are of similar size as sports media properties in terms of scale, reach, frequency, and engagement.
The advertising market in Asia alone is US$220 billion a year, and a big part of it will go towards sports in the coming years. In addition, if you include the market size for media rights, merchandise, online gaming, brand licensing, and other revenue streams, the addressable market for ONE Championship is in the hundreds of billions.
Mark my words. ONE Championship will continue to see this unprecedented, explosive growth every year for decades to come. Not only does it have a highly unique asset light, IP-based business model with massive scaleability, but ONE Championship will also ride, harness, and exploit the megatrends outlined above. To be frank, when I launched ONE Championship in 2011, I could not have predicted that all of these megatrends would collide together at the same time. I knew some of them would come to fruition, but I had no idea that they would all converge together at once. ONE Championship is genuinely at the epicenter of all of these megatrends, making it the single greatest opportunity of a lifetime for me, my team, my athletes, my shareholders, my broadcasters, my clients, and my partners.
As the saying goes, it is better to be lucky than smart.
Chatri Sityodtong is a self-made entrepreneur and lifelong martial artist from Thailand. His rags-to-riches life story has inspired millions around the world on BBC News, CNN, Financial Times, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Channel NewsAsia, and other major media. He is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of ONE Championship, Asia’s largest global sports media property in history with a global broadcast to over 1.7 billion potential viewers across 136 countries around the world. Forbes most recently selected Sityodtong as one of Asia’s next generation tycoons. He was also named “Asia’s King of Martial Arts” by the Financial Times and the “3rd Most Powerful Person in Sports in Asia” by FOX Sports. He is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD, Europe’s top business school. Sityodtong holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Tufts University.