PokerStars has added another node to its network of eSports connections thanks to a new partnership with Team Furia.
The partnership follows previous maneuvers in the eSports world, and will open up new opportunities in Central and South America (aka Latin America).
Long-time PokerStars pro André Akkari will lead the team of streamers tasked with strengthening the links between poker, eSports, and the world of entertainment.
New Deal Strengthens Old Ties
Announced on Tuesday, the partnership is looking to build on the close ties that online poker players and eSports gamers already share. We don’t know much more than that right now, other than the fact PokerStars and Furia will work together on various projects.
Furia is an eSports team from Brazil founded by Jaime Pádua, aka raizen, in 2017. The team’s main focus until now has been Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. While details on the new partnership are scant, we know that team members will collaborate with Akkari and another Brazilian poker pro, Lali Tournier moving forward.
These collaborations will be shown across various social media platforms, including Twitch.
Furia isn’t the biggest eSports team in the world, but it does have an international reputation. What’s more, it has more than 240,000 Twitter followers and 140,000+ Twitch subscribers.
Those are strong stats. Furia may not generate as much interest as recent PokerStars signee and retired soccer star David Ginola, however, but it’s a name eSports fans will know well. More significantly, it’s a name Latin American eSports fans will know.
PokerStars Believes Timing is Right
PokerStars has been trying to cement its position in countries such as Brazil for the better part of a decade. Akkari remains the flagbearer for PokerStars in Central and South America. The company lost the services of Felipe Ramos in 2018, who is now helping GGPoker advance its position in Brazil and other parts of the region.
With one of its main rivals making moves in Latin America, PokerStars plans to use its new links with Furia to expand its reach in the region.
This isn’t a new strategy for PokerStars, which partnered with former eSports star Bertrand Grospellier in 2006. That early exposure to the industry was followed by sponsorship deals with Randy Lew (nanonoko) and Team Liquid.
PokerStars has previously tried, and failed, to launch its own eSports-style poker games. Power Up was an attempt to fuse eSports and poker by adding special powers (power ups) to traditional Hold’em SNG tournaments.
The Furia partnership will likely look to stoke those embers once again at a time when many parts of the world are still gripped by COVID-19 restrictions keeping people confined to their homes and seeking new forms of entertainment.