“2021 will be seen as the year when many of the world’s sports events were able to return to a scheduled approach that was similar to their pre-pandemic formats,” the report said.
“The last two years forced many rights holders to experiment with new methods to keep their fans engaged. Everything from archive footage, virtual sports, old event “watch alongs” and Q&As were all tested to help build a connection. The ways in which fans consume content has also changed—the fast emergence of new online streaming platforms, the placement of sports content across non-traditional sports broadcasters, D2C and social media’s evolution have all expanded significantly.”
As it has in previous years, ONE Championship showed impressive growth in total video views in 2021.
Per the report, Asia’s largest sports media property sits second in the world for total video views, behind only the National Basketball Association (NBA), and it far outpaces any other sports property in terms of growth over the past year.
ONE amassed nearly 14 billion total video views across the social media platforms, compared to the UFC, which rounded out the top five with just over 6.6 billion.
Both martial arts organizations saw continued growth in terms of followers in 2021. ONE saw a 24% growth, with the UFC growing by 19%.
Nielsen also posted the global cumulative reach for sports properties.
“Whilst social media followers and video views continue to grow, the strength of TV as a primary source of content consumption still endures,” the report said.
ONE reached the top five in global cumulative TV reach with 406 million, while the UFC came in at number nine with 259 million.
“TV broadcast remains strong and continues to deliver high viewership, but growth is largely driven by digital and social video consumption. It is paramount for sports organizations to develop a dynamic video strategy, thereby increasing the reach of their property,” the report’s summary stated.
The global growth of martial arts continues to give ONE and the UFC a strong presence in the sports properties sector. The two most prominent combat sports organizations continue to grow and deliver content that engages their audience, helping MMA to continue its ascent in popularity.
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