IS WORLD POKER FUND'S $400 MILLION RAP ENDORSEMENT DEAL REAL?
Questions asked on Soulja Boy agreement.
World Poker Fund Holdings, a US publicly listed company describing itself as an online and event-based social gaming platform, has been drawing attention to its efforts with a steady stream of press releases for the past year or more, but last week scored wide coverage with a statement announcing a five-year $400 million endorsement deal with up-and-coming rapper Soulja Boy.
That would rank the 25-year-old self-made star among the top entertainers in show business.
The idea is to mobilise his reportedly 15 million social network following in support of the company’s online gaming assets, which include both CelebrityWorld.com and its planned “in-flight gaming” platform targeting 3 billion travellers worldwide through the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma's recently legalised online poker offering (see previous InfoPowa reports).
However, there is some scepticism regarding the company's ability to make such pay-outs, with Yahoo Finance commenting: "Of course, there’s always the possibility that this whole thing is just a giant publicity stunt, meant to further the respective brands of both parties. For the time being, however, there just isn’t any evidence to support that theory."
Other publications have noted that WPFH shares are currently trading at just $1.68 a share; that the company has yet to see a profitable year after four years in business, and that it is still in the process of establishing the enterprise.
On the other hand, it has recruited some well-known names as brand ambassadors and advisors, including ex-WSOP main event champ Jamie Gold and the respected US online gaming legal expert Martin D. Owens; inked partnerships with the nascent on-demand TV network Lookhu, and secured the show rights to the International Poker League and its Vegas Open event; the World Poker Channel; and acquired a 49 percent shareholding in the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma software provider Universal Entertainment Group.
The company has also hired an investor relations manager and signed an investment partnership with New York PR firm 1-800-PublicRelations, Inc. that will see WPFH benefit from access to 1800pr's resources, chief strategists, a full content marketing campaign and leverage in the firm media relations capabilities within the social gaming and event arena.
The PR company gets an undisclosed equity stake in WPFH in return.
Soulja himself made a surprisingly articulate case for his involvement with WPFH, saying in a statement:
“I invest in things I understand. I enjoy music, and, of course, gaming. Being an influencer is a form of currency. Having portfolio diversification is critical if you want to be an effective brand ambassador. With regards to World Poker Fund, I believe in its strategy, its team, the vision, and management’s ability to target its financial goals.”