Norbert Teufelberger, the chief executive of bwin.party digital entertainment, the company behind PartyPoker signed a deal this thursday with Scott O’Neil, who runs NHL’s New Jersey Devils And NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers teams and the Prudential Center for groups which is led by leverage buyout specialist Josh Harris. The deal created quite a lot of media attention as not everyone views the association of online gambling with sports as a step in the right direction.
This is the first time that an online gambling company has managed to secure a sponsorship deal with one of the major US sporting teams.
The CEO of both teams, Scott O’Neil played down the hype and publicity by saying that this multiyear sponsorship deal will bring more good and not cast any shadow over his teams.
In a statement, O’Neil said
This doesn’t seem like we’re breaking any taboos. I think for us the most important thing is being with a partner that can really engage our fans in a smart way and someone who understands for those of our fans who do play poker and those that are inclined for gaming whether they come to concerts here or a Sixers’ game or a Devils’ game they will be treated like a royal flush, if you will.
The online gambling industry in the US has received a lot of flak and was completely shut down on the infamous Black Friday, two years ago.
However, states like Nevada and New Jersey have slowly relaxed their views and have now legalized online gambling. PartyPoker, one of the websites that shut down during Black Friday is now looking to get back into the U.S market and will use its sponsorship to build its brand and capture a big percentage of the online gambling market in the U.S
PartyPoker is well known and established all over Europe and has strong sponsorship deals with some of the leading sports teams in Europe. Some of them include the likes of Real Madrid in Spain, Bayern Munich Germany and Manchester United in England.
Teufelberger understands the importance of this sponsorship deal and understands the importance of portraying his company in the right light. He said
We have learned over the many years, with Real Madrid and Manchester United and Bayern Munich, and especially here in this country where it’s such a controversial topic, that we’re not just selling toothpaste. We’re selling a product that can be viewed as very problematic. It has to be engaging, it has to be entertaining, but it shouldn’t be addictive.