Detroit Red Wings Sign Partnership Deal with PokerStars

  • Poker has been attempting to gain mainstream popularity for a while
  • Gambling partnerships have drastically increased in recent years
  • Fans can receive memorabilia and experiences via the partnership
  • Sports betting legalization has helped grow the popularity of poker
Hockeytown Cafe
The Detroit Red Wings have partnered with PokerStars in a multi-year agreement. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

PokerStars, Red Wings team up

PokerStars has struck a multi-year sponsorship agreement with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings that will prioritize increasing fan experience.

delivering epic experiences for our PokerStars community

“We are extremely proud and excited to build a long-term relationship with such an iconic NHL team as the Detroit Red Wings,” said Severin Rasset, PokerStars’ US marketing director. “Through this partnership, we look forward to delivering epic experiences for our PokerStars community, expanding on what we can offer our Michigan-based players, as well as those across the rest of the US”

Poker has long been attempting to infiltrate mainstream sports media. The new agreement grants PokerStars the opportunity to create a spillover from traditional sports supporters to the growing population of poker fans.

Sports partnerships with gambling companies

Partnerships between gambling entities and professional sports teams have become very popular lately as the two markets continue to grow more aligned. Every major American sports league, along with standout franchises such as the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Lakers, also have gambling sponsors, whether they be casinos, sportsbooks, or DFS providers.

noticeable uptick in online poker players over the past few years

Poker has not always been a direct beneficiary of this phenomenon, although there has been a noticeable uptick in online poker players over the past few years. PokerStars, a Flutter Entertainment brand, hopes to build off the momentum and offer a variety of entertainment-based services to Red Wings and poker fans through the new agreement. 

The Red Wings have 11 Stanley Cup championships, the third-most among NHL franchises. They are 12-7-5 in their 2022-23 campaign, which puts them eighth in the Eastern Conference and fourth in the Atlantic Division.

“This is a partnership that our fans, especially poker players, will really enjoy,” said Chris McGowan, president and chief executive of Ilitch Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Red Wings’ home arena. “It’s great to see PokerStars’ branding on the ice level at Little Caesars Arena, and we’re very appreciative of their support.”

Fans will be eligible to receive a variety of prizes through the partnership, including signed jerseys, merchandise, and game tickets. PokerStars will also help host gameday experiences and other meetups. 

Common trends

This is not the first time that an NHL franchise has gotten in bed with a poker company. In 2014, the New Jersey Devils (and nearby Philadelphia 76ers) signed an agreement with partypoker that made the poker room the team’s “official gaming partner.”

There has been substantial growth in gaming partnerships since the 2018 PASPA decision that allowed state governments to legalize sports betting. At the time of writing, 36 states have passed sports betting legislation, and 31 have operational markets.

growth of sports betting has helped lure more players into the overall gambling sector

Although online poker has been legal since 2013, the growth of sports betting has helped lure more players into the overall gambling sector, thus benefiting the poker industry.

Gambling partnerships are also extremely popular in other areas of the world. According to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), 19% of team sponsorships are with gambling companies.