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ONE Championship had 13 billion video views in 2021

Chatri Sityodtong

A lot of people are watching ONE Championship on social media. At least according to Nielsen who released a report documenting how many views the world’s biggest sports properties are receiving on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Tik Tok.

Leading the way

According to Nielsen the two sports properties leading the way globally, at least according to this metric, are ONE Championship and the NBA. The Champion’s League is in third, followed by the NFL and the UFC.

The UFC is ahead of ONE Championship in several metrics. The American promotion has 82 million followers across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube while its Asian rival has 42.7mn although that gap does appear to be closing.

Bellator also appears to be slowly but surely gaining online followers. There are 20mn people following the promotion across the three main social media platforms, an increase of 20% from 2020.

Most popular

The UFC is by far the most popular MMA promotion on Tik Tok with 10mn. ONE Championship has 2.2mn while Bellator does not feature at all on this list.

Totally transformed

The last decade has totally transformed the way in which people view sport. Television is no longer the only source of broadcast content but according to Nielsen ‘the strength of TV as a primary source of content consumption still endures’.

Interestingly it is events that take place once per year, or less, that lead the way in terms of TV reach. ONE Championship reached 406mn people in 2022, the UFC reached 259mn and Bellator reached 11mn but it is worth noting that the data excludes non metered channels.

Moving away

The report confirms that audiences are increasingly moving away from traditional linear TV in favour of ‘over the top’ and streaming services. But it does note that ‘TV broadcast remains strong and continues to deliver high viewership but growth is largely driven by digital and social video consumption’.

The UFC got well ahead of this trend by launching Fight Pass in 2013. ONE Championship also appears to have benefitted from a slick social media strategy with more people watching MMA across more different platforms than ever before.