Meet 2017's ten most powerful people in sports in Asia
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 19, 2017 10:15 AM
ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong has steered the Asian MMA powerhouse to new heights in the past year. (FILE PHOTO)
In Asia, sports equals passion, and these ten big names in the sporting world today have led their respective organizations to amazing heights this year. Let’s take a look at 2017’s Top 10 People Behind the Biggest Sports Media Properties in Asia.
#1 Gianni Infantino, President of the FIFA World Cup
Gianni Infantino is a football administrator and the current President of the FIFA World Cup.
The FIFA World Cup is an international football association and tournament held every four years. Men’s football is arguably the most popular sport in the entire world and the same is true for Asia. The sport retains large numbers in viewership and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Countries like Singapore, Korea and Australia all follow football religiously.
#2 Aleksander Ceferin, President of UEFA Champions League
Aleksander Ceferin heads the UEFA Champions League, an annual football competition, unlike FIFA which is only held every four years.
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is one of the most prestigious football tournaments in the world and is participated by top-division European football clubs. Although it does not consist of Asian teams, UEFA remains popular among the Asian people due to the popularity of football as a sport.
#3 Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship
When billionaire Chatri Sityodtong conjured up the idea for ONE Championship, he envisioned the entire Asia united under a single sport.
ONE Championship has achieved tremendous success since its establishment in 2011. Martial arts 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. Currently the largest global sports media property in Asian history. Today, ONE Championship is broadcast to over one billion viewers in over 128 countries across the globe.
#4 Horacio Muratore, President of FIBA
Having been president of FIBA since 2014, Horacio Muratore has continued to develop the sport of basketball, not just in Asia, but in the entire world.
The FIBA Basketball World Cup was established in 1950 and is an international basketball competition held every four years since its inaugural year. It also has popular variations in the FIBA Asia Championships and FIBA EuroBasket.
The next tournament is scheduled for Beijing, China in 2019. Basketball’s popularity in Asia remains concentrated in the Philippines, Taiwan and China where the sport enjoys a very strong and faithful following.
#5 John Malone, Owner of Formula One
Although Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One’s colorful chief executive remains at the helm of business operations, new owner American billionaire John Malone purchased the company in early 2017 and has since continued to deliver fans heart-pumping auto-racing action.
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.
#6 Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Major League Baseball
Rob Manfred was named the 10th Commissioner in the history of Major League Baseball a wildly popular sport not just in the United States, but also in Japan, Taiwan, and China.
Major League Baseball or the MLB is the most recognizable professional baseball organization in the world. It is immensely popular especially in Japan where baseball is almost considered a national sport.
Since 1986, an all-star team from the MLB is sent to a biennial end-of-season tour of Japan. It is called MLB Japan All-Star Series wherein exhibition games are held in a best-of format against all-stars from the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league. Aside from MLB Japan Serie, there also exists an MLB China Series and an MLB Taiwan Series.
#7 Hemang Amin, Chief Operating Officer of Vivo Indian Premier League
Heman Amin has been a part of the BCCI, which governs the Vivo Indian Premier League, for the past seven years.
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.
It is currently valued at US$1.6 billion which is a monumental achievement for such a young property.
#8 Chito Narvasa, Former Commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association
Former basketball player and coach, Chito Narvasa is the ninth Commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Basketball is a wildly popular sport in the Philippines, and perhaps the most widely played in the entire country. The premiere proving ground of men’s professional basketball in the Philippines is the PBA, which owns the distinction of being the first professional basketball league in Asia, and the second-oldest continuously existing league in the world apart from the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The PBA played its first game in 1975, and today fuels a hoop-crazy nation that loves its basketball.
#9 Cai Zhenhua, President of the Chinese Football Association
China has a burgeoning football obsession, with support from Chinese President Xi Jinping himself who is helping to develop the sport. Cai Zhenhua is the current President of the Chinese Football Association, which governs the sport in China.China’s passion for football is manifest in the Chinese Super League (CSL), which is the highest tier of professional football in the country. With a season that starts in March and ends mid-November, the CSL features 16 football clubs in its current season. The league, the largest in China, now operates under the management of the Chinese Football Association. The current champions are the Guangzhou Evergrande.
#10 Mitsuri Murai, Chairman of Japan Professional Football League
Inaugurated in 2014, Mitsuri Murai is the Chairman of the Japan Professional Football League, or more popularly known as the J.League.
Japanese professional football league, J.League is one of the most successful football leagues in all of Asia. It is the top level of Japan’s professional football scene, which is one of the most popular sports in all the region.
With an annual revenue of over $560-million, the J.League features three football levels: J1, J2, and J3. The league is also governed by FIFA on the global level.