The man, the myth, the legend himself – Usain Bolt – has just signed a partnership deal with PokerStars casino. The Amaya-owned company finalized the deal earlier this month, June 2017, and snagged itself the 8-time Olympic gold medalist as the new face of its company. The news was released by both Bolt and PokerStars via social media.
Usain Bolt will represent PokerStars in all marketing campaigns and specified live appearances. It's likely due to PokerStar's recent push towards reaching new markets and expanding its client-base. Amaya, the parent company, had a record-breaking first quarter this year. PokerStars is Amaya's main product, and as such most of the company's time and energy is spent on the online casino.
It remains unknown what Bolt will be getting out of the deal himself, although Pokerstars' past contracts have always carried a hefty price-tag with them.
Bolt will be working closely with famous comedian and good friend Kevin Hart. The latter of the two also signed with PokerStars earlier this year following a similar contract. While Hart is not the face of PokerStars like Bolt, he still has to make live appearances and be involved in marketing campaigns. Bolt commented to the press that:
“PokerStars is a winner, and I'm happy to join Kevin in helping to bring poker and PokerStars to the masses. It's a challenging game that’s fun, social and competitive so I’m pleased to be able to introduce it to my fans and to people around the world.”
Following up on Bolt's statement, Vice-President of corporate communications at PokerStars, Eric Hollreiser, said that, ‘Usain Bolt is a fierce competitor who pushes his game to the limits, but he's also one of the most-liked athletes in the world,' continuing that, ‘his strong global following and winning personality will help us to introduce poker in a fun, social and fast way.'
This seems to reflect a swerve from PokerStars' initial plan of staying away from major sports figures to represent it, which they stated in an email sent out to their affiliates also earlier this year. Their choice in Kevin Hart seemed reflective of this decision. However, with the recent signing on of Bolt and his talents (as well as his huge fan-base), it seems that PokerStars is falling back to sports stars.
Past sponsored sports-stars have included figures like Daniel Negreanu, Rafael Nadal and Neymar, Jr. Bolt will be joining the ranks of these elite players with the new deal. It remains to be seen whether the company succeeds at breaking new markets in order to replace the Australian demographic of its clients. However, with the fastest man on Earth at their side – anything is possible.
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