The new partnership between the New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia 76ers and NJ.PartyPoker.com marks an unprecedented first on US soil.
The Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils have apparently thrown their full support behind the Garden State’s flourishing online gaming market. At a press conference held at the Prudential Center in Newark, NBA spokesman Michael Bass announced that the professional sports teams have penned a sponsorship agreement with online gaming provider PartyPoker. Although relatively common practice in Europe, this marks the first time that an online gaming provider has aligned with a professional US sporting franchise.
The announcement comes only one day after team owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer proclaimed that they would reveal a
major announcement at an upcoming news conference. Later that day, fans began speculating on Twitter that the Sixers would be relocated to Northern New Jersey. Their concerns were quickly put to rest.
PartyPoker, in conjunction with the Borgata, is currently the leading iGaming provider in New Jersey’s burgeoning Internet gaming market. Since launching on November 26th, its sites have captured over 50% of the state’s market share. And according to PokerScout, NJ Party Borgata boasts the 28th highest cash-game volume of any site in the world.
PartyPoker is owned by publicly traded British online gaming provider bwin.party. Before pulling out of US markets in 2006, it was the most highly trafficked poker site in the world.
Via its alignment with the Devils/76ers, Party will forge a connection between legalized gambling and professional sports, while simultaneously avoiding any direct correlation between the two. Although legal in much of Europe, online sports betting is prohibited in the United States.
Instead of allowing gamblers to bet on Devils and Sixers games directly, Party will be hosting promotional poker tournaments, with winners receiving courtside, or exclusive VIP tickets to Devils and 76ers home games. Other prizes will include Prudential Center concert tickets, and unique opportunities to travel with the teams.
Party has wasted no time launching the first of its cross-promotional events with its new partners. The aptly titled “Dream Seat Series” is set to kick off immediately, with satellite buy-ins starting as low as $1.
In return, PartyPoker advertisements will adorn both the Prudential Center and the Wells Fargo Center. Party will also be featured in the Devils and Sixers radio and television advertisement spots.
Total home game attendance for the teams eclipsed one million last year, with millions more watching from home or listening on the radio. Through its newly-forged alignments, PartyPoker will now reach these individuals on a near daily basis between the months of October and April, potentially longer pending one or both teams makes the playoffs.
Considering that most New Jersey residents are either misinformed or under-informed regarding regulated iGaming, Party’s bold move should facilitate the growth of the iGaming market substantially. It also sets the stage for other regulated sites to pursue similar partnerships and serves to advance US iGaming legislation as a whole.