WPT airline sponsorship deal takes flight

Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten

With the innumerable air miles racked up by players on the tournament trail, the World Poker Tour's latest sponsorship pairing is a natural fit.

The tour has signed a endorsement deal with Southwest Airlines Co. for its sixth season, an agreement that makes Southwest the "official airline" of the WPT.

What that entails is the airline's sponsorship of the Season 6 Watch and Win sweepstakes during new WPT episodes at its new home on the Game Show Network. Southwest will advertise a free trip to watch a WPT final table during the broadcast. Viewers will be able to text in a code for a chance at the prize.

Southwest Airlines will also be featured on the WPT Web site, promoting Ding!, a free downloadble computer application to customize travel plans. User can choose up to 10 airports and receive alerts when discount airfares to those cities come up.

The deal is for the duration of Season 6, with the option to renew in subsequent seasons.

"Southwest Airlines sees this exciting new partnership as a way for customers to see our brand in an entirely new environment," said a spokeswoman for Southwest Airlines in a release. "We know the world is passionate about poker and we are so happy to be associated with the premier brand for this sport."

The WPT Season 6 will begin airing Monday nights on GSN in early 2008.

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