Caesars Interactive, the company behind the World Series of Poker, has inked a ten-year deal with Tencent to help expand the game in Asia.
A mega deal between two titans in the gaming industry was recently announced during the introduction of the 2017 World Series of Poker, as the WSOP (owned by Caesars Interactive) has agreed to partner up with Tencent to help expand the game of poker throughout Asia.
The agreement will combine the resources of the WSOP brand with the digital reach and platforms that Tencent already has in place throughout Asia. Since Tencent is China’s largest internet company, the global reach of the game should benefit greatly in areas around China as well.
Launched in 2014, Tencent has been one of the leading providers of social gaming apps in China and other countries in the Asian region. The company also boasts one of the top eSports reputations in the industry, owning major stakes in Activation Blizzard and Epic Games.
The eSports market is also something the WSOP is very interested in getting involved with, especially with the popularity of such games with many of the best poker players in the world. The eSports market in Asia is extremely large and quite a few of their biggest superstars are all homegrown from the region.
What will the WSOP’s responsibilities entail?
Simple. The experienced tournament staff and brand managers behind the WSOP will rigorously begin training Tencent’s staff to operate live tournaments throughout Asia, especially those in China. The high standards that the WSOP will bring to the table is uncanny in the tournament circuit, as the company has successfully ran not just the annual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas at elite levels every year, but they’ve also coordinated and ran the wildly popular WSOP Circuit events in numerous locations across the United States.
Since the WSOP plans to expand both the World Series and the WSOPC to the Asian market, it will be vital the Tencent is brought up to speed quickly and efficiently regarding these tournament series’. The training expertise will most likely lead to a rebirth of popularity of tournaments in Asia, bringing back memories of the now defunct WSOP-APAC tournaments that were quite popular in 2013 and 2014.
The first live tournament event that both companies will coordinate on together will be the WSOP China. The event will count like any other WSOP bracelet event and will also be eligible for Player of the Year points. It will also be the springboard to other huge tournaments that will be taking place in 2018 and beyond.
What will be Tencent’s role in all of this?
Tencent already has the digital platform to start branding all of their free online gaming apps with the WSOP name. The company already plans on launching a WSOP-branded poker site on their #1-rated social poker game app, as well as distribute tons of media content and more to clientele all over Asia.
This ten-year partnership will more than likely spur a huge increase in users for Tencent’s already immense player base. A rise in tournament traffic and sponsors should make this deal a match made in heaven for each party, especially Tencent, which stands to further bolster their digital presence with one of the most recognized poker brands around the globe.