ONE Championship’s tenth event on Philippine soil last April 21 will go down in history as the biggest night in the country’s flourishing mixed martial arts (MMA) scene.
It witnessed the homecoming of the Philippines’ beloved hero Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, who successfully defended his ONE Lightweight World Championship against top contender Ev “E.T.” Ting of Malaysia.
People from all walks of life trekked to the 20,000-capacity SM Mall of Asia Arena to see Folayang and his Team Lakay comrades accomplish a 5-0 clean sweep at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY.
If the state-of-the-art arena was filled to the rafters with passionate MMA fans, the same held true both outside the showground and at home on their television sets.
ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY became the most watched MMA show in the country’s television history as it garnered 26 percent peak ratings share, beating Ultimate Fighting Championship’s TV best of seven percent when it aired the lightweight championship clash between Conor McGregor and Eddie Alvarez this past November.
ONE Championship chairman Chatri Sityodtong did not mince words of delight and contentment as he outlined how successful the telecast was.
“I am very happy with the turnout. For perspective, last year, UFC 205 did a roughly six to seven percent ratings share in the Philippines. Numbers don’t lie. We broke all records with a 26 percent peak TV ratings share as per Nielsen. Those numbers are massive. It means one in four Filipinos who were watching TV was watching ONE Championship,” he said.
Over the past three years, ONE Championship has seen incredible growth rates in both television viewership and social media engagement, which is a testament to the rapid rise of the promotion in worldwide households and the sport of MMA as a whole.
In data released by Nielsen, Facebook and Repucom, ONE Championship has shown exponential growth from 2014 to 2017 (Q1).
The data shows that ONE Championship has come from 352 million social media impressions to 4-billion, marking an increase of over 11 times the previous tally.
With the upsurge of digital and online video, ONE Championship has also catapulted their numbers from 312 thousand to a whopping 314 million.
“Based on the Q1 2017 actual results, our run rate is four billion social media impressions. We will likely exceed the four billion by year-end due to sequential growth as our numbers are compounding every month. The same goes for our social media video views. If I had to guess, we will likely do 500 million video views by year-end,” Sityodtong shared.
“Every major country is showing our content several hours per week and even up to several hours per day in some countries,” ONE Championship’s head honcho added.
Furthermore, the annual TV broadcast per country and the peak TV ratings share numbers have increased dramatically based on the data.
From an average of just 12-18 hours of TV broadcast in 2014, ONE Championship has increased that number to 100-1800 hours. It has also seen its peak TV ratings share spike to 11-20 percent from 1-2 percent just three years ago.
“Our free-to-air broadcast hours per country per year has exploded from roughly 50 hours per broadcaster per country last year to a maximum of 1800 hours per year for our top broadcaster in 2017 based on annualized Q1 2017 actual results,” Sityodtong stated.
With UFC trying to play catch-up in Asia, Sityodtong takes pride in ONE Championship being the top dog in the region and plots to lock up the whole continent to secure the organization’s ground and pole position.
“Coupled with our strong TV ratings, these metrics make ONE Championship the largest sports media property in Asia by a large margin in terms of audience scale, reach, and engagement. These metrics indicate that ONE Championship is at least ten to 50 times larger than UFC is in Asia, depending on the country,” he stressed.
There are a plethora of MMA promotions currently operating in Asia, including various smaller leagues, but it is ONE Championship that has been able to maximize the potential of the sometimes-complicated market.
According to Sityodtong, ONE Championship’s connection with its audience sets it apart from other MMA organizations.
“When you talk about martial arts, Asia is the home of martial arts. It has been the home of martial arts for the last 5,000 years. We live, breathe and understand it. We understand the philosophy of it and the spirit of it,” he ended.