The Singapore-based promotion partnered with consumer research company GWI for a case study on how to increase brand awareness among fans in the U.S. market. With the insights it acquired, ONE was able to grow its audience in the U.S. by 46% over the course of a six-month period from December 2022 to May 2023.
“We've always known there was a passionate group of combat sports fans in the U.S. Year-on-year, we could see our metrics increasing organically there, and we knew there was a growing fan base,” said Jane Guo, vice president, head of analytics and insight at ONE. “It was really about finding the right partner to take it to the next level in terms of scale.”
Based on the data from ONE’s brand tracker study with GWI, the promotion was able to identify Amazon Prime as the ideal broadcast partner.
“Amazon is probably one of the most data-driven companies in the world,” Guo said. “So this data, and our insights team, have played a crucial role in this partnership from the very beginning.”
ONE Championship made its U.S. debut last May with ONE on Prime Video 10 at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado. As expected based on the data, the card was a hit with fans.
“Our first on-ground event in Denver was a smashing success – what surprised me a little was that around 50% of fans traveled from out of town to attend our event,” Guo said. “They’re also so knowledgeable about our athletes and the various disciplines we host. They just understand the brand so well. That gave us a big boost of confidence that we not only have the right to play in the U.S., we also have a great opportunity to win that market as well.”
ONE Championship has since announced two U.S. events for 2024: One at the Ball Arena in Denver on Sept. 6 and another at State Farm Arena in Atlanta on Nov. 8. That could be just the beginning.
“The U.S. is definitely going to be one of our key markets in the next few years,” Guo said. “We’re going to continue tracking, measuring, and listening to our fans – to the combat sports community on the ground – really shaping our product around their needs and giving them a very differentiated, refreshing viewing experience.”
While growing its U.S. audience was a primary benefit from the brand study, ONE was also able to identify several other key factors about its viewership and their preferences. These points are as follows:
-Overall martial arts viewership is growing in the U.S., but crucially, ONE’s share of that viewership is growing, and their fans are much more engaged and discerning
-On average, ONE viewers spend more time watching martial arts compared to non-ONE viewers (4.9 hours versus 2.7 hours weekly).
-63% of 18-29 year-old viewers say they “extremely like” ONE, making them the most-liked martial arts/MMA organization among younger demographics.
-45% believe ONE “prioritizes athlete health and safety” compared to just 35% for the UFC.
-48% find “inspiration” from ONE. Younger sports audiences expect more than just a great match; they demand a responsible, forward-thinking organization that gives value back to the world.
-ONE viewers discuss on online forums (+30%) and bet on martial arts matches (+22%), vs. non-viewers – another indication that ONE is resonating with younger audiences who consume sports differently to older audiences.