888Poker is again sponsoring the World Series of Poker, a move that was obvious to most industry observers the minute the 2016 schedule was announced.
The 888/WSOP tie-in
This is the second straight year that 888 will be be a major sponsor of the WSOP, and builds upon the relationship between the two brands — they started sharing some liquidity across their U.S. online poker platforms last year.
888 will be able to offer satellites to the WSOP worldwide, as part of the deal, although not exclusively in some markets. (For example, in the U.S., satellites will obviously be available via WSOP NV and WSOP NJ.) There will be step satellites for as little as a penny, and main event qualifiers running with a buy-in of $1,050.
As part of the deal, there will be broad promotion of the 888 brand on WSOP.com and on site at the Rio in Las Vegas.
The poker media already figured this out
It probably would have made more sense to just announce 888 was sponsoring the tournament rather than putting it on the schedule like an event that had no ties to a deal, even though everyone realized what was taking place at the start.
More crossover with Kara Scott
The 888/WSOP tie-in got a little more serious, as Kara Scott, who works on the ESPN coverage of the WSOP, signed on with 888Poker. That provides a tidy bit of crossover for both brands:
It’s simply more evidence that the two brands see the potential in expanding their relationship.
888/WSOP vs. PokerStars in New Jersey
888 and WSOP will hope that online qualifiers can help blunt the impact of PokerStars into the New Jersey market on March 21, and that it will benefit 888 — the No. 2 poker operator worldwide, currently — in the rest of the world.
While the WSOP tie-in will certainly benefit 888Poker in international markets, it’s not clear that anything, though, can stop the short-term impact of PokerStars’s much-anticipated arrival in NJ.