GPL, PokerStars Announce Sponsorship Deal
Today the Global Poker League’s parent company, Mediarex Sports and Entertainment, and the world’s largest online poker site, have reached agreement on a deal that makes PokerStars the lead sponsor of the Global Poker League [GPL], effective immediately.
The deal will make PokerStars the exclusive online poker sponsor of the GPL, the poker-event centerpiece of Mediarex founder Alex Dreyfus’s mission to “sportify poker.” Per separate but related announcements from the two entities, the Stars sponsorship will help to reinforce Mediarex’s and Dreyfus’s goal to “help transition poker from just a player experience to a fan experience.”
Financial details of the sponsorship deal were not disclosed, and possibilities that PokerStars and its parent company, Canada’s Amaya Gaming, could have invested in the GPL and Mediarex in an ownership sense were not addressed.
Nonetheless, the apparent cash infusion comes at a vital time for the GPL. Dreyfus’s companies have struggled to monetize their various poker-related ventures, and the Stars sponsorship must help there. The GPL’s first season, currently set to resume its second half of action next week, has shown signs of cash-flow difficulties. Not only did the GPL take a longer-than-expected hiatus after the first half of its debut campaign, but there have been troubling cash-flow signs behind the scenes. Several participants have offered anecdotal tales of not being paid for their participation, though the details and timing of their scheduled payments is not publicly known.
And Dreyfus himself was involved in an unseemly cash-transfer several weeks ago involving three well-known European players, in the midst of which Dreyfus acknowledged that the past summer had been a rough time, financially, for the GPL.
The GPL-PokerStars deal should help ease that cash crunch, and allow one of the most novel poker concepts of recent years to continue.
According to the GPL’s Dreyfus, “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.”
“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,” offered Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars’ Director of Corporate Communications.
PokerStars indeed already has offered tacit support to the GPL by allowing several of its sponsored pros to take part. Members of Team PokerStars Pros participating in the GPL include Liv Boeree, Vanessa Selbst, Jason Mercier and ElkY. Such participation by branded pros generally requires cooperation from the sponsoring site. Dreyfus himself encountered such sponsorship difficulties when trying to launch one of his earlier ventures, 2014’s World Cup of Poker.
Second-half action in GPL events resumes on Tuesday, October 4. That action includes a live stream every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which will now also be available on PokerStars TV, at http://psta.rs/2d8vilP. The Stars sponsorship will also include branding of “The Cube,” the studio-concept set that’s a significant part of Dreyfus’s plan to grow fan interest in GPL competition.
PokerStars and Mediarex also announced tentative plans to jointly pursue further, unspecified promotional initiatives for the GPL.