One championship has followed it’s four recent high profile signings in former UFC Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, former UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson, former UFC welterweight Sage Northcutt and Miesha Tate as vice president with the announcement of a US television deal with Ted Turner’s Turner Sports. ESPN announced the deal late Tuesday UK time.
One Championship has grown exponentially since it’s debut only seven years ago, with viewing figures for events reaching the 25 million mark without any US television deal to date. CEO Chatri Sityodtong indicated to Forbes earlier this year his intention to sign a US television deal before the end of the year and has delivered signalling his intent to expand even further.
The deal is 3 years in length and may not only extend to live events beginning with One: Kings of Courage, the first event to be broadcast on TNT. Indeed it is understood that Turner Sports may include regular programming outside of live events with the possibility of a reality show. Turner Sports will also broadcast events digitally via it’s B/R Live platform. Alvarez, Johnson and Northcutt are poised to make their debuts at separate events in the first 3 months of 2019 and are a great motivation for stateside fans to check out their product.
One held 19 events across Asia in 2018 and plan to expand on this next year with an entry to Japan earmarked as part of it’s expansion plans.
With Bellator being reportedly close to inking a UK television deal with BT Sport, will One Championship follow suit and expand even further into the English speaking market with a UK deal? The content will be there and broadcast times are more favourable for live shows in Asia for UK fans than those held in the United States, particularly those on the west coast. With BT Sport losing the rights to show UFC in the UK, could moves for Bellator and One Championship soften the blow to keep subscribers and provide regular top level MMA?