Top 10 sports media properties in Asia

As sports and digital content continue to rise in Asia, sports media properties are increasing in value and marketing potential. With the Chinese market set to potentially reach a staggering US $724 billion by 2025, more focus and efforts have been placed in the region.

Asia is exploding with sports content and the people have begun to pay attention to sports more than ever. It’s certainly a great time to be a fan. As the region further develops its infrastructure, the demand for sporting content is poised to reach an all-time high.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 sports media properties in Asia.

ONE Championship

When billionaire Chatri Sityodtong conjured up the idea for ONE Championship, he envisioned the entire Asia united under a single sport. The entrepreneur has long harped on the fact that martial arts has been ingrained in Asian culture for over 5,000 years. He believes the evolution of the sport into mixed martial arts opens up limitless potential in Asia.

ONE Championship has achieved tremendous success since its establishment in 2011. MMA is considered a Pan-Asian sport and for the first time in Asian history, it is a sport that has transcended regional and cultural boundaries. This has proven to be a huge factor in attracting various Fortune 500 companies.

ONE Championship is currently the largest sports media property in Asian history. Today, the sport is broadcast to over one billion viewers in over 118 countries across the globe. It’s the fastest rising sport in the world, and has become a household name in recent years.

Singapore Grand Prix

Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or simply as F1, is the highest class of single-seater international auto-racing tournament in the world. Held in different variations depending on the region, the races are held regularly on an annual basis on purpose-built F1 circuits or public roads.

The most popular variation in Asia is the Singapore Grand Prix, which normally takes place on the Marina Bay Street Circuit. The Singapore Grand Prix was first held in 1966. It is the first of its kind in Asia.

Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB)

Baseball is immensely popular in Japan, where it is almost considered a national sport. NPB is the highest level of baseball in Japan. Locally, it is often called Puro Yakyu. The roots of the league can be traced back to the formation of the “Greater Japan Tokyo Baseball Club” in 1934 and the original Japanese Baseball League. NPB was formed when that league reorganized in 1950.

NPB currently consists of two six-team circuits, the Central League and the Pacific League. Each season the winning clubs from the two leagues compete in the Japan Series, the championship series of NPB.

The Japanese baseball is wound more tightly and is harder than an American baseball as technical elements are slightly different. NPB uses a smaller baseball, strike zone, and playing field. NPB is described and rated by players, scouts, and sabermetricians as “AAAA” due to the league’s competitiveness.

Vivo Indian Premier League

The IPL is a professional Twenty20 cricket league established in India, which is held every April and May of every year. Cricket is by far the most popular sport in India. Although a relatively new organization, having been established as recently as 2008, the IPL is one of the fastest growing sports media properties in Asia.

Currently valued at US$1.6 billion, which is a monumental achievement for such a young property.

Chinese Basketball Association (CBA)

CBA is regarded by a number of pundits and fans as the preeminent men’s professional basketball league in Asia due to its outstanding standard of play. The organization was founded in 1995.

A few Chinese players who competed in the CBA in the early stages of their careers have also played in the NBA, including Wang Zhizhi, Mengke Bateer, Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian, and Sun Yue.

Philippine Basketball Association (PBA)

PBA is the first men’s professional basketball league in Asia and the second oldest continuously existing in the world after the NBA. It was founded on April 9, 1975. Since its inauguration, it has gone for 42 seasons.

Unlike other basketball leagues, there is no season champion in the PBA. Instead, the season is divided into three conferences, wherein the teams compete for a conference cup. The winners of the conference cups do not face each other at the end of the season. All conference champions are league champions, with the Philippine Cup being the most prestigious conference of the season.

The league is composed of twelve company-branded franchised teams, with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel owing the distinction of being the most popular team in the PBA.

AFF Suzuki Cup

The AFF Suzuki Cup is a biennial international association football competition that is organized by the ASEAN Football Federation. It is contested by the national teams of the Southeast Asian region.

It was founded as the Tiger Cup after Singapore-based Asia Pacific Breweries sponsored the competition from its inauguration in 1996 until the 2004 edition. After Asia Pacific Breweries withdrew as title sponsors, the competition was known as the AFF Championship for the 2007 edition. From 2008, Japanese auto-company Suzuki bought the naming rights for the competition to rename the tourney as the AFF Suzuki Cup for sponsorship reasons.

Thailand is the most successful team in the league by copping five AFF Suzuki Cup titles. Singapore comes in at second with four championships.

Asia League Ice Hockey (ALIH)

ALIH is an association, which operates a professional ice hockey league based in the Far East, with nine teams from Japan, China, Russia and South Korea. It was formed in 2003 due to declining popularity in the Japan Ice Hockey League and the folding of the Korea Ice Hockey League.

The league was formed with the goal of promoting hockey and developing players’ skills. It initially comprised of five teams in two countries, but it expanded to highs of four countries in its 2004–05 season and nine teams in the 2005–06 season.

However, it comprised of eight teams from three countries in the 2013–14 season. Prior to the 2014–15 season, a team from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, HC Sakhalin, was affiliated to the league.

The competition draws most of its players from the home countries of its teams. But to help build skill and raise the level of competitiveness, the league allows each team a certain number of foreign imports on their roster.

ASEAN Basketball League (ABL)

ABL is a men’s professional basketball league in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It was inaugurated in October 2009 after basketball officials from six ASEAN nations gathered in Metro Manila to officially launch the new league.

Mirroring the Euroleague in the west, the ABL has its own set of rules in terms of its roster makeup and salary caps. Teams are permitted two imports of non-ASEAN citizenship, three ASEAN imports, one player with one Southeast Asian parent, and seven local players.

As of the 2015–16 season, it is held via a quadruple home-and-away format, where each team faces each other four times during regular season.

V.Premier league

Originally known as V.League (Japan), V.Premier League is the top-level volleyball competition for both men and women in Japan. It was founded in 1994 as a response to the growing popularity of volleyball in the country.

Both male and female brackets have eight marquee teams competing for the respective championship. JT Thunders are the defending champions in the men’s division, while the NEC Red Rockets are the ruling squad in the women’s category.


Photo from ONE Championship

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