888poker will have its logo and presence stamped all over the Rio in Las Vegas this summer, as it returns as a key sponsor of the 2016 World Series of Poker.
Around this time last year, the WSOP announced its partnership with the popular online poker site. But DraftKings remained the main sponsor at the Series last year. DraftKings had its logo on every WSOP table over the summer but, after Nevada deemed daily fantasy sports (DFS) to be a form of gambling, the Series decided to cut ties with the company before the November Nine.
With DraftKings off the market, the WSOP has turned to one of its other top sponsors, 888poker, to fill that void as main sponsor for the 2016 World Series of Poker. The poker site will bank on the added exposure the WSOP provides to expand its brand worldwide.
Friends with Benefits
888poker, a partner of Caesars Entertainment Corporation, the company that owns the WSOP and WSOP.com, will reap the benefits of being the lead sponsor of the world’s most popular poker series.
The world’s second largest poker site received increased exposure at the 2015 WSOP Main Event when one of its own pros, Joe McKeehen, won the bracelet. Two other November Nine participants, Neil Blumenfield and Thomas Cannuli, were also sponsored by 888poker.
This year, 888 will have a more prominent sponsorship role at the Series, starting with an $888 buy-in bracelet tournament. Event #54, dubbed “Crazy Eights”, is an 8-handed hold’em tournament with $888,888 guaranteed for the first place winner. Yup, we get the theme.
Last year’s lead sponsor, DraftKings, had its name stamped on event #55, the DraftKings 50/50, a unique no-limit hold’em tournament where half the field was paid. That event, obviously, won’t be on the 2016 schedule, which was (finally) released last week.
888 will have its logo all over the Rio, on featured and live stream tables, and on ESPN’s broadcast of the 2016 WSOP. The price tag on becoming the WSOP’s main sponsor has not been released publicly, but it’s likely not cheap.
Another perk of the agreement for 888 is to be able to host WSOP satellite events for players outside of Nevada. Poker players in New Jersey and even outside the United States can enter online satellite tournaments at 888poker for the Main Event and Crazy Eights tournament.
Match Made in Heaven?
The World Series of Poker and 888poker’s relationship spans many years, with many poker players having worn an 888 patch during past WSOP events.
In recent years, WSOP.com and 888poker have worked together to grow online poker in the US. 888 built the software for WSOP.com in both Nevada and New Jersey. The poker sites share liquidity in New Jersey.
Now, as the interchange between live and online poker heats up slowly once again in America, 888 is banking on what seems like a solid partnership.