Top poker players don’t just earn money from winning tournaments and cash games. The biggest players have multiple streams of revenue that allows them to live comfortably while focusing their efforts on their poker career. Lots of poker brands sponsor poker players as it gives them a way to gain exposure and recognition.
Big brands and smaller brands can both benefit from sponsorships, as they’ll gain exposure and recognition among a wider group of poker fans. By sponsoring a famous player who has a large following, the brand can gain more exposure.
Gaining a sponsorship as a poker player can be difficult. In most cases, you need to be very talented. Not only that but having a large following also helps. Poker sponsorships aren’t as common as they used to be, but many of the most popular poker sites still sponsor popular players. The road to earning a sponsorship is difficult, but it’s extremely lucrative and provides an alternative revenue stream.
What is a Sponsorship?
A sponsorship is a form of marketing that gives the sponsor specific rights over the event, person, or thing being sponsored. It’s very common in sports, with major athletes, sporting events, and sports stadiums being sponsored by big brands. The brand pays an agreed-upon amount of money to the thing they sponsor; in return, they receive certain benefits.
These benefits often include having their brand name associated with the thing they sponsor. As an example, a poker site might sponsor a poker player who then endorses that site. The endorsement might come through directly promoting the site to their fans or wearing branded clothing with the site’s logo. In this instance, the brand will often be more likely to sponsor a player with a larger following, as this means they reach a wider audience.
In return, the brand pays money and receives exposure to a specific audience it wants to target. Therefore, it can be extremely effective when brands choose the right thing to sponsor that shares similar goals, values, and visions. As a result, sponsorships can often be worth a lot of money, both to the sponsor and the person or thing being sponsored.
What Poker Players Need to Have to get Sponsored
Getting sponsored as a poker used to be a lot easier during the poker boom years. This was a period between 2003 and 2006 when poker became hugely popular around the world, just as online poker became more accessible than ever. During this time, the number of people signed up to online poker sites was doubling each year, and poker sites were spending big to gain a portion of the market share.
Today, poker is still hugely popular, but there isn’t as much hype, and poker sites aren’t as desperate for new players. As a result, sponsorships aren’t as common, but they can still be big. To acquire a sponsorship, poker players need two things.
The first and most obvious is skill in poker. You’re not going to get sponsorship in poker if you can’t actually play. Being a good player is important; the better you are, the more likely you are to bring attention to the brand you sponsor. Achieving success in a major televised tournament is a good start, but having consistent success over a few years is even better.
The second and perhaps most important factor in achieving a sponsorship is having a big following. The whole point of a brand sponsoring a player is that they’re going to gain exposure among that player’s fans. Therefore, if you have lots of fans, you’re more likely to acquire a lucrative sponsorship.
Having a large following often comes with success. However, it’s also possible to be successful without being popular and to be popular without being hugely successful. Poker players who want to get big sponsorships should work on their personal brand and social media presence to build their following. Many players are now starting to utilize social media and streaming services such as twitch.tv to gain more followers from outside poker too.