Poker league PSL – in terms of prize pool and participation has revolutionised the way poker tournaments will be seen in India with the Virtual format. The league has signed Pocket52 as its title sponsor for its Season 3. The streaming of the entire league will be on Viacom18’s advertising-led digital arm VOOT, which comes on board as the official Streaming Partner for the Pocket52 – Poker Sports League Season 3 – Virtual.
After the successful conclusion of VPL and the online qualifiers, PSL-V saw increased interest from top gaming brands for its sponsorship. Announcing the partnerships, Pocket52 Poker Sports League promoter Amit Burman, said, “I am thrilled to announce the title sponsor and the official streaming partner for this season of PSL. As an emerging gaming start-up that aggregates customers from all platforms, pools and enables them to play together real-time on their platform, Pocket52 makes for the perfect partner to be our title sponsors. More so, looking at the significant shift of content consumption towards digital platforms, it was a strategic decision to join hands with Voot for streaming of the first ever virtual poker league. Furthermore, it this will be the world’s first poker broadcast (with video) post COVID.”
In the past, increased demand for online and skill based games have been witnessed which has resulted in more and more brands securing opportunities for visibility on such platforms. With regards to sponsorships, Pocket52 PSL has structured plans to organise two seasons/ leagues in a year where there will be ample branding and communication opportunities for all its sponsors. Furthermore, the league follows a 100 per cent legal business model with no involvement of staking and wagering.
Pocket52 is the key driver and to be the title sponsor of PSL-V, Season 3. On being the title sponsor, Pocket52 CEO Nitesh Salvi,expressed, “Rooting from the same genes of the poker industry in India, we at Pocket 52 are immensely gratified to associate with PSL. As is the new norm, this momentous virtual tournament is going to be streamed live on the leading OTT platform of VOOT of Viacom 18 Network, for the very first time in India.”
Considering the notable swing of eyeballs for digital entertainment more than TV; PSL, which began in 2016, and broadcast on Discovery Communications India’s DSPORTS channel for Season 2, now decided to collaborate with Voot, for the streaming rights of Pocket52 Poker Sports League Season 3 – Virtual.
Pocket52 Poker Sports League CEO and co-founder Pranav Bagai, said, “Our majority of the audience are tech savvy, young adults under the age of 35 who choose to spend their time on digital platforms rather than television leading us to opt for an OTT platform. The game of poker to many may seem tedious and thus, to make it appealing to a larger audience our association with Voot apart from the live streaming of the league will also air an exclusive behind the scene, reality show. With a dose of entertainment, these clips will provide insights and understanding of the player’s perception towards life and game. Moreover, our association with Voot will definitely provide our sponsors a better branding platform and will also help us reaching out to millions of potential viewers across the country and grow the popularity of online poker tournaments in India.”
With a user base of 100 million, Voot’s focus is towards a younger audience aligning it to the league’s target audience. Commenting on India’s first live stream broadcast of poker, Viacom18 Digital Ventures, COO Gourav Rakshit, stated, “We look forward to the opportunity to partner with Poker Sports League for their virtual avatar and amplify a joint reach to the viewers while keeping them entertained. With the partnership we hope to reach critical mass and break out into a new trajectory. Furthermore, we really like the fact that Poker has very active community engagement, so we expect a lot of repeat viewing, by the fans. We definitely are quite happy to be investing in this amplification because I believe this is the right time to include the sport. Especially when OTT itself is moving away from lean-back experience to lean-in experience.”
The virtual matches begin from 18 January 2021 via Live Streaming on Voot from 4:00 PM to 12:00 Midnight on every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. The Grand Finale is slated for 20 February 2021.
Bagai further added, “PSL has been a catalyst in the growth story and has led to an impactful and noticeable improvement in monetization while adapting to the changing circumstances. This is not just lucrative for active players but also for the industry operators to invest, to create, and to expand the ecosystem.”
To encourage more and more poker enthusiasts in joining the league, PSL has been backed and supported by Grand Master Viswanathan Anand since its inception.