World Poker Tour Season XIII is in the books. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of the WPT since Day 1. If you have a job you love, consider yourself very lucky. I sure do. I still thoroughly enjoy what I do and love working for the WPT, whose staff are professional, very adept at their respective jobs and, most importantly, are good people.
I’ll wager a guess that many people are impressed the WPT is still going strong after all these years. Much of the WPT’s success in recent years is due to the incredible job Adam Pliska and his executive staff have done since becoming WPT president three years ago. Having no US online poker presence, Adam took over when the company was in the red and struggling. But Adam, through hard work and smart strategy, has turned the WPT into a profitable, stand-alone business.
He had a calculated plan and mission statement – to grow the WPT brand and expand global events, of which he has accomplished both. Not long ago the WPT had only 12 yearly televised events. Compare that total to last year, when the WPT hosted something like 68 WPT events worldwide (main tour, regional, and national events). The WPT now licenses its brand in various parts of the world, acquiring sponsorship partners that help offset exorbitant TV production costs.
At the recently concluded WPT World Championship at Borgata the WPT had to fly in, house, feed (Borgata helps offset this cost) and pay 50 staff salaries, including production staff, crew, talent, RFG’s, live update team, and execs. It also had to pay the cost of shipping a bundle of equipment to Atlantic City which, added to the expense of hiring a team to assemble and set up, is quite financially burdening. When you include the general costs of running a company in totality you can understand the kind of difficulties in keeping a company of WPT’s magnitude afloat.
Golfer Lee Trevino has a quote I’ll never forget:
“Two things don’t last. Dogs that chase cars and pros that putt for pars.”
Add to that list companies that don’t make money.
Having online sponsorship funding a travelling poker show like the WPT takes considerable effort, considerable business acumen and outstanding leadership.
I think most of us agree how hypocritical it is that gambling is permitted in 48 states (only Utah and Hawaii have no form of gambling) but, in all states except NJ, NV, and DE, you can’t play online poker. I really hope that changes soon. In the meantime, online poker sites cannot justify investing marketing spend in the U.S. and have to look elsewhere for sponsorship.
Although mainstream companies recognize millions of people love to play poker, they are hesitant to sponsor anything people might perceive as gambling activity for fear of ramifications, protests or boycotts. WPT or the WSOP marketing directors can speak ad nauseam about the problems they have trying to obtain sponsorship.
The WPT, in the past few years, has done a terrific job in creating brand awareness across the globe. And due to the WPT’s admirable efforts sponsorship partners are now stepping up to the plate. Last season the WPT had sponsorship deals with DraftKings, Monster, Skrill, Hublot, and ClubWPT.com. Everyone who enjoys the WPT should be grateful for these sponsorship partners – and please don’t complain about the higher number of TV ads. These sponsorship partners are aiding in the WPT’s continuing plight to thrive so jump on board and show your support.
The WPT also has a great broadcast partner, FSN. The World Poker Tour airs numerous times weekly and this season’s ratings were the highest in WPT history.
So let’s show our collective happiness and rejoice that the WPT is operating in the black. The WPT’s success benefits everyone in the poker industry. Thanks, most importantly, to all players for continuing to support the WPT. And happy watching!