The International Federation of Poker’s (IFP) Match Poker form of the game has been handed a major boost in China through a new partnership between the Alibaba Sports division of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and the Oceans Sports & Entertainment agency.
The strategic partnership brings together the two organisations with the aim of developing and marketing sports in China and has already identified Match Poker, the digital, non-gambling, team-based variant, as a “priority project”.
Match Poker is a new e-sport version of poker where competitors play for points instead of cash prizes. Cards are replaced by hands dealt to smartphones, while all gameplay is conducted digitally and both individual and team performances, as well as match and league information, is recorded and stored centrally.
The IFP has said that Match Poker will generate revenue through pay-per-play, subscriptions, sponsorship and media rights. The organisation expects to attract two million players within five years.
“The alliance between Oceans and Alibaba sport creates one of the most powerful forces in sports marketing anywhere in the world,” IFP president Patrick Nally said. “I am delighted that their energies, attention and resources will be focused on launching and promoting Match Poker and that they share my belief in its massive worldwide potential.”
Oceans is a long-term supporter of Match Poker and has worked with the IFP for some time on developing the technology to drive the sport.
Shoto Zhu, chief executive of Oceans, added: “The strategic alliance with Alibaba Sports is a game-changer for Oceans Sports and Entertainment as it harnesses our specialist marketing skills and know-how with the media and e-commerce might of Alibaba Sports.
“It will enable us to promote sports opportunities effectively and decisively in China and beyond. Both Oceans and Alibaba are excited about its potential in the age of e-sport and it is a priority project for the alliance.”
Match Poker is hoping to make major progress in the key Chinese market through a new strategic partnership between Oceans Sports & Entertainment, its marketing agency in the region, and Ali Sports, a subsidiary of online retail giant Alibaba Group.
The promotion of Match Poker, a non-gambling, mobile-based version of the game which is currently conducting a funding round as it seeks global expansion, has been announced as a priority project for the partnership between two of China’s biggest and most influential sports sector organisations.
Under the agreement, Oceans will manage the on-ground event logistics and traditional marketing of Match Poker and the other sporting events in its portfolio, while Ali Sports “will introduce a comprehensive new digital ecosystem to improve the experience and value for the projects’ participants, audience, sponsors and business partners”.
Oceans chief executive Shoto Zhu told TotallyGaming.com that the partnership with the media, marketing, data and financial services powerhouse will play a significant role in driving growth of the mind sport…