PokerStars is seeing red. The popular Michigan online poker platform announced it has signed a deal to be an official sponsor of the Detroit Red Wings.
PokerStars US Managing Director Severin Rasset said his company is looking forward to its expanded relationship with the iconic NHL franchise.
“We are extremely proud and excited to build a long-term relationship with such an iconic NHL team as the Red Wings. Through this partnership, we look forward to delivering epic experiences for our PokerStars community, expanding on what we can offer our Michigan-based players, as well as those across the rest of the US.”
Deal gives poker players chances at Red Wings-themed prizes
Michigan online poker players will start to see multiple Red Wings promotions in the app. Through various promotions and contests, PokerStars will offer prizes such as signed memorabilia, tickets to Red Wings games, and merchandise, according to PlayMichigan.
Those who attend Red Wings games at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit will see more PokerStars branding, too. Basically, PokerStars’ partnership gives its visibility a big boost. Fans who watch games from a device will also get more exposure to the brand.
This isn’t the first deal that PokerStars closed with the Red Wings. It has an existing partnership that includes a PokerStars-branded “Intermission Stats” and “Final Stats” series on Twitter.
The team tweets out the stats of each game (goals, shots, etc.) between periods and after the game, and tags PokerStars on the tweet.
Why the PokerStars-Detroit deal matters
Michigan is one of six states in the country that allows online poker. This makes PokerStars’ presence in the state an important one for the company. However, it’s up against two big competitors in the market: BetMGM and WSOP.
This is why the Red Wings partnership is key. The Red Wings deal increases PokerStars’ profile in a considerable way, and will likely give the company another edge.
But that edge isn’t just about more visibility. It’s about who PokerStars is reaching. Michigan is a hockey-crazy state. In 2011, the New York Times listed Michigan as the sixth-most popular state for hockey, with around 51 out of every 10,000 people playing the game.
Additionally, Michigan had more hockey players than every state in the country but Minnesota. Add to that the fact that the Red Wings are one of the most popular NHL teams in the league, and you start to see the value of PokerStars’ new partnership.
PokerStars’ position in the Michigan online poker market
PokerStars was the first platform to launch online poker in Michigan. It’s been in the business since 2001, so its user experience is arguably the best in the state. Its tournaments are popular, too.
WSOP, the newcomer to the Michigan online poker world, is a threat to PokerStars. The platform has daily qualifiers for the WSOP Main Event, and the player pool includes New Jersey and Nevada.
BetMGM, the other poker operator in the state, offers a nice slate of tournaments but they have less traffic than PokerStars and WSOP. And so cash games aren’t quite as appealing as they are on competing platforms.