When you can win a seat to play in the superbowl
for $25, the NFL will become even more popular. Think NASCAR would like it if you won an online race and you can suit up for Daytona next year.
It is one of the few activities where your money is good no matter what your skill level doesn't matter (except in your own mind). In poker it is all about the money. Casinos
don't care how many enter (they make money no matter what, in fact they want more and more to enter) and the pros know the can win back their money just on side games. Someone would love to go home and say they lost all their savings to Phil, Jesus, etc. Just think if you actually won the hand (you can become a local celeb in your home games).
Not saying I am any better. I play in a free 10 week poker league that gives $11,000 prizes to the winner of the whole thing. Either a WPT event or the WSOP
depending on the time of year.