888 Signs Sponsorship Deal With TV Show 'Poker Night in America'July 3, 2014 4:09 pm
Aside from the World Poker Tour and WSOP, poker shows in the USA have all but vanished since Black-Friday dried up interest from the TV networks. The country’s nascent online poker industry, however, has the potential to reverse the trend, especially with CBS Sports Network announcing the launch of a new TV show called ‘Poker Night in America’ (PNIA). Interestingly, the show is sponsored by 888, the world’s second biggest internet poker website with an average of 2,100 cash game players at any one time.
Unlike online poker giant PokerStars, the 888-led All American Poker Network (AAPN) has already established a legal foothold in the USA, and is the only company to have a presence in all three regulated states of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.
The industry has been slow to gain pace, though, and the latest sponsorship deal now provides 888 with a golden opportunity to educate the American public about legal US internet poker, as well as giving its brand awareness a massive boost. Other spin offs include extra pressure being placed on competing poker websites to buy advertising space during breaks in PNIA, or even being motivated to produce their own shows. As PNIA president Todd Anderson, explains:
“This agreement represents the perfect symbiosis between poker as televised entertainment, and the growing market of online gaming led by one of the world’s premier providers. With 888’s deep poker experience and AAPN’s strong US-market positioning, we can bridge from live-action to a much larger market of players, consumers, and viewers.”
In a departure from other TV poker shows, PNIA aims to bring “personality back to poker” by focusing on the back stories behind the different players, in addition to providing top weekly tournament and cash game action. Poker has become a saturated industry over the past few years, with many industry experts promoting the need to recreate a poker boom like the one instigated by Chris Moneymaker in 2003. It is hoped ‘Poker Night in America’ may help attract renewed interest in the different characters in the game, and eventually give the USA’s fledgling online poker industry a much-needed lift.
As a PNIA press release explains: “Instead of watching tournament final tables with anonymous players hidden beneath hoodies and silenced by ear-phones, PNIA is stacking the deck in favor of fun by using hand-picked pros joined by amateur players in a real cash game environment at select venues throughout the US. In addition to poker action, behind-the-scenes comedy and drama promises to make PNIA compelling must-see television for all poker players and fans of the game.”