Report: ONE Championship, Turner Sports to sign three-year deal
July 11, 2020
This story was updated at 3 PM Eastern.
The most active and financially lucrative year in combat sports TV content history continued Tuesday with the news that ONE Championship, formerly ONE Fighting Championship, is coming to U.S. based Turner Sports, according to ESPN”s Ariel Helwani.
Asian-based ONE is the MMA organization that recently “traded” for former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and signed both former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and UFC welterweight prospect Sage Northcutt.
Since we originally posted this story, clarifications have been made and there’s some clarity still needed as to the finer details.
The deal is for three years and begins on January 19th, 2019, with 24 shows per year to air live on B/R Live, Turner’s paid digital platform which made headlines this year for offering NBA fans the chance to buy single games or even part of a single game. It’s not known if they will do a season pass, pay per fight basis, or just pay per show.
Helwani wrote that taped events will air on TNT with “shoulder” programming and a reality show also in the plans. However, it’s unclear how many shows that will be, whether they just be ‘best of’ shows, or airtimes.
Financial details weren’t disclosed as the organization has yet to publicly comment as of this writing. It’s expected something will be formally announced in the next few days.
Turner Sports was interested in acquring the UFC broadcast rights earlier this year, but the company’s merger talks with AT&T prevented that from going further.
So far in 2019, the industry has seen the UFC sign a five year, $1.5 billion deal with ESPN, WWE sign deals with NBCUniversal and Fox totaling $2.35 billion, and DAZN sign both Bellator and boxer Canelo Alvarez to big money deals.