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Dreyfus: "Something Big is Going to Happen in the Next 18 Months"
Two floors up from the buzzing EPT London going on below them, poker industry leaders and affiliates met a couple of weeks ago to hear Alex Dreyfus, Hermance Blum and Edgar Stuchly outline the future of poker marketing.
Organized by Global Poker Index CEO Alex Dreyfus, the first-ever international summit for sports marketing and poker brought in affiliates and mainstream media to hear the GPI, EPT, and WPT share their insight into the current state of poker marketing.
Dreyfus, owner of the both the GPI and the Hendon Mob database, opened the conference with a comparison of poker and mainstream sports.
“Poker and sports have the same values, and this is why we think we can promote poker in the same way sports are promoted. Poker has 'arrived' in the mainstream already."
The next step to turning the game into just another sport in the media? Dreyfus says it's time to “sportify.”
Popularity of Poker Still Growing
“The success of poker shows," Dreyfus said, "becomes evident in that there are now more people following live streams on the internet than watch live sports on TV.”
Surely, poker has long reached all levels of society in general and the more affluent levels in particular. There are now an estimated 100 million recreational poker players worldwide. That includes plenty of athletes and celebrities.
On average people who visit poker sites are 36% more likely to earn over $150,000 per year than visitors on general websites. Remember Neymar Jr preferring poker with his family to watching Brazil go down to Germany in the World cup quarterfinals?
Big companies like Microsoft host poker tournaments for charity. Celebrities like Eva Longoria do it, too. So how can it get any more mainstream?
Well, poker has also now entered academic circles -- for example Law professors at Harvard use poker strategies to teach business courses.
Although many proclaim that poker is not evolving anymore - some even suggest it's declining or even “dying" - numbers actually show that the popularity of poker both on TV and in terms of active live players is still growing steadily.
At Beginning of a New Poker Boom
It's time then, Dreyfus says, to take content production and distribution to the same level as other mainstream sports.
Distribution for poker content should also be carried out the same way as mainstream content is. The GPI has already itself inked deals with major news outlets like USA Today, the Cinesports Network and SportingNews.com.
"Big things lie ahead," says Dreyfus. "These sponsors are just the beginning.
"It is a young industry but one with big numbers. Something big is going to happen in the next 18 months.
"California will introduce online poker again and this will cause a butterfly effect. All the money spent in California will spread out into the other states.
"So we are at the beginning of a new poker boom, and it will be just as big as the first one.”
Still Much More to Come
Dreyfus’ presentation was followed by short introductions to the histories and present situations of the World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour.
The EPT was represented by president Edgar Stuchly while newly promoted General Manager of WPT Europe, Hermance Blum, took to the microphone for the World Poker Tour.
Both parties stressed the interactive elements of their advertising and branding strategies. Today the WPT is watched in over 150 countries and the average number of viewers of an episode of Season 12 is around one million.
The WPT seems to have understood the signs of the times. As Blum pointed out they are in the process of analysing the makeup of their audience to stage events better suited to their needs and find new players at the same time.
The EPT sports big numbers, too, having developed into the largest poker tour worldwide in terms of number of players.
The Live webcast alone is broadcast in 14 languages and over 50 countries.
“We already have millions of customers," Stuchly said, “but obviously, there is still much more to come.”