ONE Championship has made a new pitch to the Qatar Investment Authority in hopes of securing another round of investor funding, according to a new report from DealStreetAsia.
Qatar is a major investor in ONE and reportedly contributed $50 million of a $150 million round of funding in 2021. So there’s nothing too unusual about ONE approaching the government’s sovereign wealth fund and VC firms for more investment. But there were some worrying claims in the DealStreetAsia article that suggested ONE may be running out of time to generate significant profit for funders.
One source told DealStreetAsia that “ONE’s runway is expected to expire by Q3 of next year,” putting extra pressure on the promotion to secure more financing. That may be more difficult this time around because “several sources have told DealStreetAsia that the Qataris have been increasingly embarrassed about their involvement with ONE, which has been under the spotlight for its weak financials.” They also noted that global liquidity has dried up.
As for how ONE is doing financially, it’s a tricky question to answer. The company regularly files financials with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, and those have shown growing revenue figures: $67.7 million for 2021 and a reported $80 million estimate for 2022. But DealStreetAsia claims that these figures include ‘non-cash components,’ and “ONE’s true cash revenue in FY2022 is likely to be just $5-8 million.”
ONE Championship has had an extremely busy 2023, with over 50 events on the calendar. That included weekly events at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, a U.S. event held in Broomfield, Colorado, and Singapore shows. The fights are great, the product is slick, and we have high hopes that ONE continues to grow in the future because it adds a lot of flavor to the combat sports schedule.
Behind the scenes, ONE also seems quite adept at maneuvering through the world of finance. So there’s plenty reason to think the promotion won’t have an issue securing more funding to get them past that scary Q3 runway deadline.
Still, it’s hard not to be a little concerned after we just witnessed Bellator’s slow uncertain fizzle in this grim economy.
“Our expected revenue for 2024 puts our core business on track to be run-rate profitable by next year,” a ONE spokesperson said in a statement to DealStreetAsia.
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