Television

Poker Sports League onboards Voot as season 3 streaming partner

The league has signed Pocket52 as its title sponsor.

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KOLKATA: The Poker Sports League (PSL) has signed Pocket52 as its title sponsor for season 3, while Viacom18’s digital arm Voot has come on board as the official streaming partner. This year, the league will go virtual as the pandemic has disrupted the on-ground event.

The virtual matches begin from 18 January 2021 via live streaming on Voot from 4 pm to midnight on every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  The grand finale is slated for 20 February 2021.

PSL promoter Amit Burman said, “As an emerging gaming start-up that aggregates customers from all platforms, pools and enables them to play together real-time on their platform, Pocket52 makes for the perfect partner to be our title sponsors. More so, looking at the significant shift of content consumption towards digital platforms, it was a strategic decision to join hands with Voot for streaming of the first ever virtual poker league. Furthermore, it gives immense pleasure to announce that this will be the world’s first poker broadcast (with video) post-Covid2019.” 

Targeted at users of 18-35 years, PSL was launched in 2016. The tournament was broadcast on Discovery Communications India’s DSPORTS channel for the past two seasons. However, the significant shift of eyeballs to digital platforms, and the Covid2019 crisis forced the organisers to host the league digitally.

Viacom18 Digital Ventures COO Gourav Rakshit stated that through the partnership, the platform hopes to reach critical mass and break out into a new trajectory. “Furthermore, we really like the fact that poker has very active community engagement, so we expect a lot of repeat viewing, by the fans. We definitely are quite happy to be investing in this amplification because I believe this is the right time to include the sport. Especially when OTT itself is moving away from lean-back experience to lean-in experience,” he added.

In the past, increased demand for online and skill-based games have been witnessed which has resulted in more and more brands securing opportunities for visibility on such platforms. With regards to sponsorships, Pocket52 PSL has structured plans to organise two seasons/leagues in a year where there will be ample branding and communication opportunities for all its sponsors. Furthermore, the league follows a 100 per cent legal business model with no involvement of staking and wagering. 

Poker Sports League CEO & co-founder Pranav Bagai said the league has been a catalyst in the growth story and has led to an impactful and noticeable improvement in monetisation while adapting to the changing circumstances. “The game of poker to many may seem tedious and thus, to make it appealing to a larger audience our association with Voot apart from the live streaming of the league will also air an exclusive behind the scene, reality show. This is not just lucrative for active players but also for the industry operators to invest, to create, and to expand the ecosystem.” 

To encourage more and more poker enthusiasts in joining the league, PSL has been backed and supported by Grand Master Viswanathan Anand since its inception. 

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