The Global Poker League: why sponsors need to pay attention

LONDON, 03.12.15 – With interest building around the launch of the Global Poker League (GPL) next year, data released by Repucom reveals the potential the series could offer for sponsors.

With a global fan base of 100 million and counting, the game is quickly turning from one which largely revolves around participation, to one being driven by fans watching others compete. There is one market in particular which is leading this trend, the US.

Today, a quarter (24%) of the US population already consider themselves poker fans. Of that figure, 81% watch live poker tournaments as a spectator. 46% of fans in the US choose to watch the game on TV whilst 22% prefer live online streaming.

It is the increased interest in not just playing poker but watching it, both on TV and online which is already attracting the attention of well-known brands.

One in four in US are fans

Almost 70% of fans in the US would choose to watch a dedicated poker season with the broadcast of the finals generating even higher figures (81% of fans in the US).

Jon Stainer, Managing Director, UK&I, Repucom, said:

“Poker is fast transforming from a pastime enjoyed in small groups in the casino or played online to one which is becoming increasingly consumed by a growing viewing fan base. As a spectator sport, poker offers sponsors a whole new world of opportunities to engage with what is a growing captured fan base.

“We expect to see the launch of the GPL in the US next year act as the catalyst for further events around the world with viewership increasing as access to coverage does.”

World’s top players drive appeal

The greatest driver of appeal for the Global Poker League amongst poker fans is having the world’s top players performing. 49% of poker fans decide to watch poker based on the players competing with 55% watching because of the ‘drama’, underlining its transformation as a spectator sport.

Supporting these statistics, in addition to watching on TV and online, a high proportion of fans would be keen to watch live events held at a sports arena, with tickets costing $100. For example, 20% of fans in the US would be very interested (and a total of 38% would be interested) in purchasing tickets to attend the Global Poker League World Championship Final.

Huge appetite for the Global Poker League

Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Mediarex Sports & Entertainment – the force behind the planned Global Poker League – commented:

“We’ve been working closely with Repucom to assess the current state of poker, its global demographics, consumption and engagement of current poker fans. From their research we know there is a huge appetite for the Global Poker League and we’ve spent a long time analyzing the opportunities for potential sponsors as well as team franchises and players. This is an incredibly exciting time for the poker industry and we’re looking for partners who share our ambition and passion to capitalize on it.”

With earnings rivaling those of elite athletes in the most followed sports in the world, the marketability of individual players and poker stars will also be something which potential sponsoring brands can tap into.

Poker: The Global Poker League - why sponsors need to pay attention