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One Championship plans schedule expansion

One Championship, the Asia-facing martial arts series, plans to stage approximately 80 events in 2020 – nearly double the number set to take place this year.

The series’ chief executive Chatri Sityodtong told the Associated Press news agency that One Championship will aggressively expand its roster of fighters to support the plans.

The 2020 schedule could include the series’ first event in the US, with Sityodtong revealing that talks have taken place with media partner Turner Sports over the possible show.

This year, 45 events are being staged by One Championship, which struck a three-year rights deal with Turner in 2018.

Sityodtong said that the planned expansion was “definitely a very tough task, but I think it’s very doable.”

He added that although mixed martial arts (MMA) would remain the primary focus of the series, other martial arts would continue to be given a platform.

“The market can’t get enough,” said Sityodtong, who claimed that viewing figures for One Championship have risen on television and digital platforms.

“A lot of the free-to-air TV broadcasters, the digital broadcasters, they’re all demanding more and more content from us, so we have to provide more and more content to the world.”

Speaking about the UFC MMA series, which Sityodtong described as One Championship’s “arch-rivals”, he added: “(The UFC’s) approach right now is they’re behind a double paywall on ESPN Plus, which limits their reach. That partnership is great for both companies and also great for the sport.

“That being said, it’s a very different strategy from what One Championship is doing. We are focused on maximum distribution, maximum reach, frequency and engagement, and making our product accessible to the entire world. That’s just a philosophical difference.”

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