Harrah's Entertainment, LLC, owner of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), has signed marketing giant IMG to expand the WSOP brand and media presence on a global scale, it has been revealed. According to reports, the contract includes new initiatives to increase marketing of the WSOP itself, and to build both domestic and international partnerships through sponsorships, licensing agreements, and media representation in nations across the globe.
This past October, it was announced that Harrah's and a a casino conglomerate in Latin America arranged to market the WSOP through a series of satellite tournaments held at various casinos throughout the Dominican Republic, Peru, Venezuela, and Panama. The new deal between Harrah's and IMG seeks to establish similar agreements with gaming firms and venues in Europe, the Far East, and Australia.
Other goals include the desire to offer non-poker related WSOP-branded paraphernalia, including auto, beverage, snack foods, and technological products (such as the new WSOP video game launched in conjunction with Activision) to WSOP fans, and to further expand media partnerships to radio, mobile, Internet, and TV.
"We want people to associate the WSOP with poker the way Wimbledon is associated with tennis - the ultimate expression of excellence," said Jeffrey Pollack, vice president of sports and entertainment marketing at Harrah's, Las Vegas. "We already are the category leader, but we can do a better job of educating people and sponsors as to what the property is and what it can deliver."
"Poker is increasingly becoming mainstream in a healthy way," said Andy Pierce, IMG corporate senior vice-president, New York. "The WSOP offers history, heritage and sustainability. Even if the 'poker bubble' bursts, WSOP will thrive."