As the first week of February draws to a close, here’s the latest sports business news you may have missed. This week sees Asia’s leading MMA property tease the release of ‘The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.’ The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) pen a pioneering sponsorship deal and WWE soars phenomenal commercial results from 2020. Sport England introduce their first-ever Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, and the NBA strive to build-up their Asian fanbase. 

ONE Championship release broadcasting details for ‘The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition’

The leading Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) company are premiering the titled programme next month across Asia. The show begins on March 18 which features chairman and chief executive, Chatri Sityodtong, in the hiring seat. 

Sports business

 

ONE’s official broadcasting partner, AXN, will distribute the show across the following markets: Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. It’s also offered on national TV networks including Mediacorp- Singapore, Abema- Japan, KompasTV- Indonesia, TV5- Philippines, HTV- Vietnam and Amarin TV & Line TV in Thailand. 

Remarkably, Chatri has penned an agreement with internet firm, ByteDance, to broaden the show’s outreach in China through streaming the programme on Douyin, Xigua, and Toutiao. 

The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition, consists of 16 participants competing in physical and business-related challenges to win a $250,000 job working for ONE Championship. The show will also feature MMA fighters as special guests to entice the broader MMA audience. 

ONE Championship has taken on an innovative campaign to broadcast this show to scale their brand to a new beyond-MMA audience. The programme will likely draw in general business professionals and sports business students/enthusiasts by pivoting one step closer to global entertainment. 

The NWHL ‘Discover’ the largest sponsorship in their history

The Financial Services company, Discover, becomes the official credit card sponsor of The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) alongside the Isobel Cup’s presenting sponsor. The collaboration is reportedly worth approximately $1m. 

The NWHL sports business round up

 

The Isobel Cup will be broadcasted on NBCSN this year, making it a groundbreaking moment for female ice hockey’s distribution across US television. Discover’s involvement is a fundamental puzzle piece to complete the financial firm’s identity across the complete ice hockey landscape. 

An essential value Discover is committed to is promoting equal pay in sports. Their sponsorship of the NWHL contributes to a new era in sport where diversity, equality and inclusion lie at the heart of the sector.  

The pandemic doesn’t stop WWE produce a new record of revenue

2020 was WWE’s best year for revenue generation as the property keep most of its events running while exploring new fan engagement opportunities. Despite the Q4 of 2020 seeing WWE experience a 26% loss due to their Saudi-Arabian event being postponed, the competition produced $974.2m in 2020, a 1% increase from 2019. 

 

2020’s content fees were instrumental to the tournaments operating income skyrocketing a 79% increase to $208.6m. WWE’s saviour to keep the business afloat was creating the digital WWE Thunderdome, an initiative to imitate the atmosphere championed by stadium spectators. 

The US media & entertainment company have also penned an agreement with multi-industry entertainment firm, NBCUniversal, to pivot the WWE network to TV network, Peacock. It’s a five-year deal. It is reportedly worth $1bn+ according to WWE executives. 

WWE has superbly managed its commercial affairs in what has been an extremely challenging time for the sports industry. Their incentive demonstrates their commitment to their audience alongside their innovative attitude to embrace the new wave of sport and entertainment. 

Meet Viveen Taylor; Sport England’s first Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

Sport England has taken a crucial step to ensuring sport and physical activity feel inclusive to all. Viveen joined Sport England in 2018 as their Strategic Lead for Lower Socio-Economic Groups where she worked closely with that demographic to encourage them to live more active lives. 

Viveen Taylor

 

Her career started in local government, and she’s dedicated over 25 years supporting deprived communities to make sustainable change through encouraging active lives. Taylor’s role comes through soon after Sport England newly announce their 10-year strategy, Uniting the Movement, which aims to combat social issues depriving individuals of increased sporting participation. 

The NBA brings its game to India

The National Basketball Association (NBA) pens a deal with India’s largest public broadcasting agency, Prasar Bharati, to distribute traditional basketball content across Indian territory. Content includes documentaries, game highlights, public service announcements and more. 

 

Last week, the broadcasting service began showing content on their sports TV channel, Doordarshan Sports, and YouTube channel, Prasar Bharati Sports. Hardwood Classics, Marquee Matchups, NBA Championships and NBA special videos were some of the content presented on their mediums. 

As 2020-21 live NBA coverage is only available through NBA League Pass, the tournament’s involvement with Prasar Bharati provides essential exposure to meet India’s demand for basketball viewership.  

That’s a wrap! Is ONE Championship’s new show business initiative the right step to take to overtake the UFC’s commercial dominance? Discover has already had a revolutionary impact in women’s ice hockey, could that stretch to global sport? Can you begin to imagine the results WWE would’ve produced if COVID19 wasn’t a thing? What high hopes are you holding for Viveen’s groundbreaking role at Sport England? And, has the NBA taken the right step to transform India into a basketball-recognised nation?  

To read more from our insight series and previous Sports Business Round Ups click here.

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