SBD/Issue 202/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

ESPN Feature Table At WSOP Attracts Publicity, Profitability

Players At ESPN Feature Table Earn Average
Of $10,000 For Displaying Company Logos
The ESPN feature table at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas is "not only one of the most recognized pieces of felt in the poker world, but it is also one of the most profitable," according to Steve Silver of the LAS VEGAS SUN. Most poker players "relish a chance to sit at the feature table due to some unique sponsorship deals," as a "simple patch or sticker placed in the right spot can lead to thousands of dollars when in front of ESPN's cameras." A player at the feature table "earns an average of $10,000 for displaying a company's logo on their clothing, which is most often online gaming Web sites such as Pokerstars, Full Tilt or Ultimate Bet." spokesperson Matt Clark: "It is all about brand exposure. We are the largest online poker room in the world and the exposure on ESPN can only help us grow." The WSOP "does govern the use of logos, however, by enforcing a rule that states players cannot drastically alter their appearance once play begins each day." Players can "put on or take off jackets, but they cannot, for instance, change into a sponsor's gear while heading to the feature table." With such "massive dollar amounts swirling around a single table, 'poker agents' have started to try to cash in on these lucrative sponsorship deals mid-action." These agents "try to spot amateur or unsponsored players with large chip stacks during the final days of an event and sign them in hopes of that player garnering the attention of ESPN's cameras." But most agents "try to negotiate deals prior to the start of a tournament." Las Vegas-based Poker Royalty President James Sullivan, whose company reps "more than 20 top poker professionals," said, "Our job is to negotiate the best deals for our clients while they focus on the cards. The general public might not realize poker players have agents, but these are professionals. This is their livelihood" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 7/9).

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