Singapore-based mixed martial arts promotion ONE Championship hasn’t held a public event since 19 February due to restrictions on mass gatherings. But its problems started well before Covid-19.
Make no mistake, the US$1 billion-valued company showed promise. In December 2019, it held its first-ever esports tournament in the 12,000-seater Singapore Indoor Stadium. The event, which marked its move into esports, featured 12 of the world’s best Dota 2 teams, a cosplay superstar, and a US$500,000 prize pool. It was as big a spectacle as Southeast Asia had hosted.
But the esports push is a calculated gamble.