9/26/09 – IMG Sports & Entertainment and Harrah's Interactive Entertainment, Inc. have announced a four-year contract extension for global representation of the World Series of Poker property.
Through the new agreement, IMG will activate its global network to help guide the international expansion of the brand, including sponsorship, event management, licensing and television distribution.
"We are looking to emphasize the ‘World' in World Series of Poker as our vision of the brand extends beyond the annual events in Las Vegas and London," said Mitch Garber, Chief Executive Officer of HIE. "By tapping the global reach and expertise of IMG, we are confident that together we can take the brand to new levels on the international stage through new international bracelet events and other WSOP licensed poker events."
IMG has served as WSOP's agency of record for sponsorship and licensing since 2005, helping to attract several corporate sponsors to the sport including Jack Link's, Hershey's and Planters.
"The World Series of Poker is an impressive property that we believe is well positioned to expand successfully into international markets given the increased activity in the online and offline poker business in key international markets," said David Abrutyn, Senior Vice President, Global Managing Director IMG Consulting.
The IMG agreement marks the third strategic business relationship formed by HIE in the past few months. Recent other deals include Dragonfish which will provide the infrastructure for entry into online gaming in the UK; and a renewal with ESPN to provide a long television promotional platform for the brand in the U.S. through 2017.
The World Series of Poker, in its 40th year, has experienced record growth in the last five years. Participants from 115 nations competed in this year's tournament, up from 24 just five years ago and entrants have gone from 13 036 to 60 875 during the same span. The WSOP expanded into Europe in 2007 with the creation of the World Series of Poker Europe held each fall in London.
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