Allied Esports Entertainment announced the sale of its major poker brand, the World Poker Tour, to Element Partners, LLC, a move that seemingly came out of left field.
Element paid $78 million for the WPT to Allied Esports Entertainment, the esports company that owns the Luxor’s HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas. That arena plays host to the WPT’s televised final tables.
Element will pay $68,250,000 upfront. The remaining $10 million balance will be paid via WPT tournament entry fees, with 5% of each buy-in being shipped to Allied. The WPT parent is currently seeking to sell off its esports business as well, and will then rebrand under a new business name. The company will focus on online entertainment, including internet gambling.
WPT Final Tables in Jeopardy?
There’s one other issue that the World Poker Tour’s new owners must soon address: with Allied out of the way, the site of the three remaining 2020 WPT final tables may be in question.
Three final tables scheduled for late March and early April 2020 at Luxor were postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. CardsChat News recently reached out to WPT Media Director Matthew Clark to find out if the tour has been able to reschedule those dates.
“There are no additional updates to provide at this time regarding the final tables. We hope to be able to film them soon, when it is safe to do so,” Clark said.
If the Luxor’s esports arena isn’t available now that Allied no longer owns the WPT, there may be other options in Las Vegas. The WPT and Poker Central have partnered to air WPT final tables in the past, so perhaps the PokerGo Studio will be available for these final tables.
COVID-19 Live Poker Fallout
Frank Ng, CEO of Allied Sports Entertainment, explained why his company sold off the popular poker brand in a press release.
“Due to COVID-19’s impact on the Company’s overall revenue generation and profitability timeline, we believe the forthcoming sale of the WPT business will garner significant capital and an avenue to determine new opportunities that will deliver accelerated returns for our stakeholders,” Ng said.
The World Poker Tour, founded by former CEO Steve Lipscomb, first launched in 2002. Since then, the televised poker tour has become the biggest non-WSOP brand in live poker. PartyGaming acquired the business in 2009 for $12.3 million. Ourgame International Holdings Ltd then purchased the WPT for $35 million in 2015 before selling it off to Black Ridge Acquisition Corp, which merged into Allied ESports Entertainment, in 2019.