A major story broke in New Jersey on Wednesday as NJ.com reported that the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and NHL's New Jersey Devils would announce a groundbreaking partnership with partypoker.com, one of the world's leading online poker rooms.
Billionaire Josh Harris, whose investment firm Apollo Global Management owns both sports franchises, and bwin.party CEO Norbert Teufelberger made an official announcement about the partnership on Thursday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The partnership will make the Devils and 76ers official online gaming partners with nj.partypoker.com. The sponsorship includes radio and television advertisements and advertisements at both the Prudential Center, where the Devils play, and the Wells Fargo Center, where the 76ers play.
In an interview with NorthJersey.com's Jon Brennan, Teufelberger said that there will be girls located inside the arenas during games to "explain the concept of online poker to new consumers."
"There is a much bigger opportunity to engage fans in the arena here," said Teufelberger. "European fans go to the stadium and watch the game, where [in the U.S.] things are much more interactive."
Players at nj.partypoker.com will also have a chance to win regular, courtside and VIP box seats to every New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers home game through a promotion called the Dream Seat Series. New players who register and make a new deposit will automatically be entered into the contest, and regular players can acquire Dream Seat Series tickets just by playing frequently, by participating in daily freerolls and $1 qualifiers, or by depositing funds into their account.
"The Dream Seat Series is a natural extension of the partypoker experience," said Team partypoker’s Mike Sexton. “The sensation of pulling off a bluff and the feeling when your team scores in overtime are two sides of the same coin. We believe the Dream Seat Series adds an additional dimension of thrill to our offering that will appeal to a wide range of people who like a good game regardless of whether they’re watching it or playing in it.”
New Jersey became the third state to legalize online gambling early last year, and the Garden State launched its Internet gambling market in November. partypoker teamed up with the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa to offer real-money games to gamblers located inside the state and the venture is currently the leader in the space. More than 150,000 online gambling accounts have been created in New Jersey since the November launch.
The 76ers and Devils are the first major U.S. sports franchises to associate with the online gambling industry. partypoker parent company bwin.party already has partnerships with sports franchises in Europe, the two most notable being soccer powerhouses Manchester United and Real Madrid.