Extending its reach outside of the poker world, Full Tilt Poker announced a new sponsorship deal that should expose the room to millions around the world.
In a statement on the team’s website on Thursday, Formula One racing team Virgin Racing announced that it had reached a sponsorship deal with the second largest online poker room in the industry. The “poker school” arm of the company, FullTiltPoker.net, will be a major sponsor of the team, with its logo prominently featured on the driving suits, team apparel, and cars of Virgin Racing’s two drivers, Germany’s Timo Glock and Brazil’s Lucas di Grassi. No financial details were reported in the announcement, although principal sponsorship of an F1 team goes in the neighborhood of $15 million.
“We are absolutely delighted to welcome FullTiltPoker.net to Virgin Racing,” stated Graeme Lowdon, Virgin Racing’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are proud to add an industry-leading brand to our healthy partnership portfolio and I am particularly pleased that we have worked hard together with a partner who has seen the team develop from its birth through to our first competitive steps. We look forward to going racing together with effect from this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, where FullTiltPoker.net will have a significant presence, and to helping the brand to achieve its marketing and business objectives in the longer term.”
Former World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event winner Chris Ferguson spoke on behalf of Full Tilt Poker during the announcement: “FullTiltPoker.net partnering with Virgin Racing is a brilliant culmination of a great deal of thought and effort on behalf of both brands. With two leaders in their respective fields coming together, this is sure to be a groundbreaking partnership on the global canvas, providing yet another level of excitement for all fans. We are very excited to be associated with such a stellar brand as Virgin Racing and look forward to launching this partnership in Spain.”
Virgin Racing is in its inaugural season as a part of the Formula One series. Other top companies such as tire supplier Bridgestone, information technology company UST Global, environmental technology firm Carbon Green, shampoo brand Clear, information technology firm CSC, foreign exchange traders FxPro, clothing company Kappa, the Oxigen investment group, and Russian sports car manufacturer Marussia are also team sponsors. Although the team seems to have solid sponsorship, its performance on the track has been less than stellar to this point in the Formula One season.
After four races of the F1 season in Bahrain, Australia, Malaysia, and China, the team’s two drivers have not been able to crack the top ten in any race. Glock has been knocked out of the first three races and failed to qualify for the event in China, while di Grassi has a 14th place finish in Malaysia on his record as his best effort. To this mark in the F1 season, neither has earned any points towards the Formula One Driver’s Championship, currently led by England’s Jenson Button. Glock will start 21st in this Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona and di Grassi will start 22nd.
Full Tilt Poker has been one of the most aggressive online poker sites when it comes to sponsorship of sporting events. The Full Tilt logo has graced the apparel of many mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters and has also been emblazoned on the ring apron of many MMA fights. In April, Full Tilt Poker also used its “dot-net” arm to enter into a sponsorship deal with Australia’s National Rugby League. The Full Tilt logo is not new to racing, as it appeared on the Mazda RX8 of Bergenholtz Racing’s Joon Maeng in February during the 2010 Formula Drift season’s stop in Long Beach.
While these sponsorship deals may seem odd, the goal for Full Tilt Poker is just like any other company that sponsors events or teams – get its name in front of as many eyes as possible. By teaming up with Formula One and Virgin Racing, Full Tilt Poker will be exposed to approximately 500 million fans per race, which includes the worldwide television audience and fans in attendance at the respective tracks.