Can PokerStars Bring New Life to Global Poker League?
After Friday's announcement, that may have all changed.
The Global Poker League announced that PokerStars has become the league's lead sponsor, helping to bolster a league whose image is beginning to struggle.
New Exclusive Sponsor, Will Stream on PokerStars TV
On Friday Mediarex Sports and Entertainment revealed that PokerStars has become the lead sponsor of the Global Poker League.
As GPL CEO has said, the goal of the league is to help transition poker from a "player experience" to a "fan experience" and they're obviously hoping the world's biggest brand can help with that process.
Said PokerStars Director of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser:
“The Global Poker League brings an innovative team-based twist to poker and we are happy to support Mediarex in their quest to bring poker to new audiences.”
GPL CEO Alex Dreyfus also heralded the move, stating, "We are optimistic about this partnership, having the support of PokerStars is a crucial step forward on the road to fully establishing the GPL as a real blueprint for poker entertainment in the future.
"PokerStars offers us a multitude of opportunities to grow our platform and continue developing our two-fold strategy of connecting the League to the poker community and genuinely connecting poker to the mainstream entertainment sector on a large scale."
GPL Sponsorship an Expansion of Existing GPI Deals
The new deal with the Global Poker League can be viewed as a mere expansion of sponsorship by the world's largest online poker site with the Global Poker Index.
PokerStars is the current sponsor of both the 2016 European Poker Awards and the American Poker Awards - two brands also owned by Mediarex. It's also in the process of re-branding its entire live poker festival offerings into the Global Championship Series, which may now work in some co-branded GPL initiatives.
From the latest deal, fans can expect promotional initiatives that will attract new players to the game.
Furthermore the giant PokerStars spade will appear on "The Cube" during live broadcasts and online broadcasts will likely feature heavy PokerStars branding.
Also, beginning October 4, all GPL live streams will be available on PokerStars TV online.
PokerStars Team Pros are already heavily involved with the GPL as Liv Boeree, Jason Mercier, Vanessa Selbst, Celina Lin, Randy Lew, Felipe Ramos and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier are all members of current teams.
What Will It Mean for GPL's Future?
With PokerStars now on board as a primary sponsor, we can safely assume that we will see another season of the Global Poker League.
It doesn't make financial sense for the site to sponsor a league that's about to fold. The question is whether PokerStars will be merely a paid sponsor or if they will become a part of the league's planning and execution.
Over the next few months, we will get a better idea of how involved PokerStars will be behind the scenes and whether the GPL will soon become the "PokerStars Global Poker League."