One of the most difficult things for online poker has been its ability to become a part of what is called “normal” culture. This is somewhat defined by being able to be seen without complaint from some segments of society, such as in sponsoring activities or appearing in advertising. Recently an online poker site made such a big move and in a rather remarkable fashion.
Global Poker Now a NASCAR Sponsor
According to Dave Skretta of the Associated Press, NASCAR is the platform that is helping online gaming and Global Poker is the beneficiary of such actions. When former NASCAR champion Kurt Busch arrived at the Phoenix International Raceway a couple of weeks ago, he did so with a Global Poker logo splashed across his Chip Ganassi Racing #1 Chevrolet. “There are so many different unique opportunities that our sport provides to sponsorship,” Busch said. “With a new brand such as them coming into our sport, it shows the power NASCAR can produce.”
This is an important sponsorship for both Global Poker and for Busch’s NASCAR career. By being able to have their logo splashed across the Chevy of Busch, Global Poker will get eyeballs that they wouldn’t normally get from the traditional print or television outlets. And there is a great deal of proof that NASCAR fans are quite loyal to products that are involved with the sport, especially if their favorite driver is sponsored by a particular business.
NASCAR and Busch also are going to benefit greatly from the new sponsorship from Global Poker. Overall sponsorships for the 40-plus teams on the most-watched motorsports series in the U. S. has declined significantly since their peak in the late 1990s. These sponsorships can total between $5 million and $35 million, depending on the placement of the company’s logos.
Even those drivers that are recognized as the best in the field aren’t excluded from this exodus. 2017 NASCAR champion Martin Truex, Jr., had to shut his championship winning team down at the close of the 2018 season due to his sponsor, Furniture Row, pulling their sponsorship from the race team. Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson also lost his major sponsor, Lowe’s Home Improvement, at the close of the 2018 season. And this doesn’t count the number of “secondary” sponsors – sponsors that step in for partial sponsorships for segments of the season – that have departed.
The influx of new money into the sport, therefore, is something that is critical to NASCAR and its race teams. And Global Poker gains an outlet to capture eyeballs that it wouldn’t otherwise have.
U. S. Catching Up to the World on Gaming Sponsorships
To say that the States of America has been behind other countries in the world when it comes to advertising online gaming and, in general, gaming companies would be a huge understatement. Several teams that play or have played in the English Premier League, arguably the greatest soccer league in the world, are sponsored by online gaming companies. Other teams throughout Europe have benefitted from the sponsorships by online gaming companies. Most recently, the online sports betting company Sportpesa entered into a sponsorship agreement with a Formula 1 team that could be valued at $30 million by the time it expires in 2021.
But the U. S. is beginning to catch up in this arena. For those that watched the most recent Super Bowl, it couldn’t be missed that the National Football League recently brought on Caesars Palace as the “official” casino of the organization. And, in what was a rather surprising move, the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour announced in February that gambling sponsorships for tournaments and players are now allowed. What isn’t allowed on the PGA Tour is any involvement with a company that’s “primary purpose is sports betting.”
Movement of Online Gaming Companies to the Mainstream
What does it all mean? It means that there’s considerable movement regarding online gaming companies and the products they offer towards the mainstream. As much as poker talked about being “mainstream” in the 2000s, it is in this decade that there truly has been some movement. And, with many states in the U. S. considering sports betting, online casinos and online poker, further movement towards the mainstream is inevitable.