PokerStars Partners with Detroit Red Wings in USA
Michigan is the newest of the individual state poker markets in the United States.
When the online poker market was ready to go in Michigan in early 2021, PokerStars was the first in line. The online poker operator was the first to launch online poker in that state, just as it was in Pennsylvania before that.
It should be no surprise, then, that PokerStars signed the first deal of its kind with a major US sports team. PokerStars announced that it is the official sponsor of the Detroit Red Wings, Michigan’s team in the NHL (National Hockey League). The deal is a multi-year one, complete with tie-ins for both parties in a mutually-beneficial relationship.
Series of Firsts
PokerStars had been working to reenter the United States online poker market since Black Friday in 2011. Once it put its “situation” with the US Department of Justice behind it, PokerStars worked on making entry into the first state to legalize, regulate, and license internet poker. That happened to be New Jersey.
Per regulatory scrutiny, PokerStars jumped through every hoop and proved its readiness to abide by the letter of the law in New Jersey. And finally, in October 2015, the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement approved PokerStars’ license request. Less than one year later, the operator launched its site for people within the state of New Jersey and quickly rose to the top of the ring-fenced market.
— Liv Boeree (@Liv_Boeree) October 1, 2015
When Pennsylvania passed a law to legalize igaming, including poker, PokerStars submitted its license application straight away. It was the first site to receive approval, and it was the first to launch in Pennsylvania in November 2019. In fact, it remained the only online poker operator in that state for more than a year before others joined the party.
Enter Michigan. Lawmakers there legalized online poker and other forms of igaming in December 2019. In short order, PokerStars inked a deal with the Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, which would link its casinos to PokerStars for their official (and required) partnership between online and land-based gambling. One year later, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed another bill, that one to formally legalize interstate poker. One month later, PokerStars launched online poker in Michigan in January 2020.
First Major Sports Deal?
When online poker and igaming started in New Jersey, there was a deal or two with sports teams. It was actually partypoker that signed a gambling sponsorship deal with the New Jersey Devils for hockey and the Philadelphia 76ers for basketball. That was the first deal of its kind, a multi-year deal that involved everything from social media to television advertisements, from promotions to digital asset creation.
— Jennifer Ferrara (@PartyPokerUSJen) March 30, 2015
Whether that was profitable or not, no other site followed suit at the time.
That changed this month. PokerStars announced a multi-year partnership as the official sponsor of the Detroit Red Wings.
On Ice and Felt
The agreement between PokerStars and the Detroit Red Wings appears to be a mutually beneficial one.
Players on PokerStars Michigan will be able to compete for signed team memorabilia, merchandise, and tickets to games. There will also be promotions to win entire experiences with the hometown NHL team.
On the team’s side, the Winged Wheel – the Detroit Red Wings logo – will soon feature PokerStars marketing image(s). Game attendees and viewers will also notice PokerStars marketing information during home games at the Little Caesars Arena. And all will be done with responsible gambling reminders prominently displayed.
PokerStars US Managing Director Severin Rasset said he looks forward to the deal “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.”
🥳 We are proud to announce a first of its kind deal in the USA. 🎉
— PokerStarsUSA (@PokerStarsUSA) December 2, 2022