Guaranteed Rate, one of America’s top five mortgage lenders, is partnering with PokerGo. The deal not only brings another non-gaming company into poker, but will directly benefit players.
Guaranteed Rate is now the presenting sponsor of the PokerGo Tour. In basic terms, this means the PokerGo Tour will be “presented by” Guaranteed Rate. However, the deal represents more than just a branding opportunity. As part of the deal, the top performer on the tour will win the Guaranteed Rate Player of the Year trophy. The mortgage lender will also be adding $175,000 to the Player of the Year prize pool.
PokerGo Tour presented by Guaranteed Rate
PokerGo launched the first season of its tour this year. The initial announcement came in April and outlined the basic structure and schedule of events. Players earn points each time they cash in a PokerGo tournament. The top performers at the end of the season were initially set to win $100,000 (first place), $50,000 (second place), and $25,000 (third place).
Now, Guaranteed Rate has doubled the prize money, meaning the players who finish in the top three places on the PokerGo Tour leaderboard will win $200,000, $100,000, and $50,000. This is the most significant part of the deal.
Having a partner from the financial sector and, in turn, increased exposure is important to the tour’s success. Having a sponsor that’s putting money into the prize pool may be an even more important step forward for PokerGo, however. Guaranteed Rate now has an active interest in the tour’s success, rather than a passive association with it.
A deal that means more than money
This means Guaranteed Rate has a reason to support the PokerGo Tour in any way it can. Of course, players on the tour will also directly benefit from the increased prize money. It’s worth noting that some PokerGo tournaments, such as those at the Poker Masters and Super High Roller Bowl, cost $10,000+. Therefore, the average poker player is unlikely to benefit from the extra prize money in those situations.
The poker community will, however, benefit from the fact PokerGo can expand its tour. In the same way investments at the elite level of other sports have a trickledown effect, the partnership with Guaranteed Rate could do the same in poker. As PokerGo’s press release states, the aim is to make the tour’s ranking system “similar to the world’s most-renowned professional sports.”
Sponsors of the NFL and other professional leagues have a financial interest in the products they’re supporting, and that’s what Guaranteed Rate has with the PokerGo Tour. This makes the partnership different to most other sponsorship deals in poker. Moreover, it stands as an example of how the game’s identity is shifting from something rooted in gambling to an activity that’s more akin to a sport.