PokerStars has tied up a new partnership with the UFC, the mixed martial arts organization, becoming the body’s official poker sponsor. The deal is entering into effect right away with the first UFC event to display the logo of the Canadian card room taking place on December 29.
UFC Grabs PokerStars as Official Endemic Partner
UFC has added The Stars Group subsidiary PokerStars as the mixed martial arts organization’s official poker partner. With the partnership made official on Friday, December 21, the UFC will display PokerStars’ logo during the upcoming match between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson taking place on Saturday, December 29 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The upcoming UFC 232 is a pay-per-view event, which is how the UFC secures profits, other than the sale of commercial slots and live tickets in the sold-out arena. Another Jones vs Gustafsson game took place back in 2013 when Jones managed to triumph over his opponent.
— PokerStars (@PokerStars) December 21, 2018
Meanwhile, the partnership was well-met by the top brass in both PokerStars and the UFC. Paul Asencio, UFC Senior Vice President, said that the new tie-up with the card room allowed the company to create a “new sponsorship category”, which will be pursued in 2019.
Mr. Asencio believes that the tie-up will allow UFC to continue and pursue growth in various markets where PokerStars is already present.
UFC and PokerStars have a lot in common. We want to thrill and entertain, both in our products and customer experience. UFC is the world’s leading MMA promoter with millions of fans and followers around the globe, while PokerStars is the heavyweight of online poker. It’s a classic combination. – Coyne, Stars Interactive Head of Marketing
As to Christopher Coyne, head of marketing at Stars Interactive, he opined that the brand was all about building a “thrilling customer experience”. Mr. Coyne pointed out to the leadership position of both companies in their respective fields.
Similar Partnerships Across the Board
The Stars Group has been actively pursuing various partnerships intended at diversifying its portfolio. Most recently, the Canada-headquartered Group entered into an agreement with the National Basketball Association (NBA), with the Stars Group becoming an authorized gaming partner.
Stars Group is looking to boost brand awareness as well as to secure advantages of its own sports betting division and theNBA will provide the company’s sports book with official data across all leagues and competitions.
The Stars Group is pushing ahead the expansion of its sports betting assets with BetSoft, a gaming operator dedicated to offering various gaming products. As to PokerStars, the company still has to position itself legally on familiar grounds, as it is not allowed into Nevada where online poker is legalized.
Brand awareness through UFC broadcasts is a smart move by the company. The estimated viewership of the UFC reaches 1.1 billion spectators, not counting the people who tune in to watch streams, VODs and other materials.
UFC did try to partner with cardrooms back in 2011, when it signed up Full Tilt Poker, but the complicated legal landscape didn’t let the organization to promote as readily to U.S. crowd, with the broadcasts suffering overseas because of local lawmaker decisions.