November 06 2014, by Alexandre Dreyfus
Blog : The Global Poker League, next piece in the puzzle to Sportify Poker
It’s been two years since I began developing the Global Poker Index into a startup capable of being one of the central pieces within the worldwide poker Ecosystem. It’s been an ambitious investment, an entrepreneurial dream, and a leap of faith – in short, a long journey. Yet the further I go, the more I realize we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible in this space – and it makes the whole adventure that much more exciting.
What started with the GPI World Player Rankings – made to define Poker’s best live tournament players – and after only a few years achieved the one thing you can’t buy: genuine legitimacy. Its served as the backbone for everything that came next.
We turned to social media, developing Fantasy Poker Manager; a free-to-play social game that gave casual fans a place to follow poker in an engaging new way, promoting players and events the same way conventional Sports’ social media assets do.
GPI also acquired the European Poker Awards, launched the American Poker Awards – and connected them via an industry wide Global Poker Conference with stages at both ceremonies. These platforms promote Poker in an inclusive and sportified environment.
Sports Formatted Events
These initiatives are powerful, but not enough to achieve the end goal: to Sportify Poker in full. The missing piece? ‘Sports formatted’ poker events controlled and run by GPI. Fully sportified events that exist in a larger framework – a league – with no gambling and the power to attract mainstream sports and news media.
- World Cup
Our Global Poker Masters (GPM) is a first step. Labelled “Poker’s World Cup” and slated to be held in early 2015, GPM brings the top eight Poker Countries in the world together to compete. With five elite national players per team GPM will be livestreamed internationally across dozens of prominent sports sites. We have clear precedents – Tennis has the Davis Cup, Football has the World Cup, and Poker has the Global Poker Masters. On a personal level I can’t wait to see what happens when ‘Team France’ runs into ‘Team USA’.
- Professional League
Our next step in 2015 is to launch the last piece of the GPI puzzle – the Global Poker League (GPL). It’s our most ambitious (read: risky) project to date and one capable of creating uniquely sportified poker content build for mainstream digital sports and news media.
GPL will be Poker’s professional league. The initial vision is to have a series of live events akin to a sports season co-hosted by international poker events, with between six to eight different franchises (poker teams) competing against one another with initial seasons lasting a short three to four months. Unlike the Global Poker Masters – where teams are comprised of each Nation’s top 5 available players – GPL teams will consist of “draftable” players from GPI’s Rankings and wildcard entries. I’ve already presented this concept, and terms for participation, to a number of prospective future team owners. It’s been an extremely positive experience – reception has been warm across the board and we’ve already had a number of commitments from intrigued future ‘franchise’ owners. Commitments from leading figures from both in front of and behind the felt are rolling in too.
Tie all of these things together, and you have GPI’s grand vision – rankings, connected to digital sports distribution, Poker’s World Cup in the form of GPM, a professional league with GPL, fan engagement via Fantasy Poker Manager, with Awards and Industry conferences as added threads.
In short – a new authority, sports vertical, and a fully realized marketing vehicle for the world’s live poker ecosystem. One that doesn’t compete with any existing poker stakeholders but rather empowers them to grow alongside.We want to create a new overarching layer to this industry capable of serving the poker space as a whole.
The most important thing now is execution. Its a matter of building out and marketing all of these initiatives at the right time, and I believe that time is now.
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