New Delhi: Poker Sports League, a unique initiative that brings together poker enthusiasts from around the world, is set to welcome its second season soon and has a much larger turnout. PSL’s successful inaugural launch earlier this year that helped gauge target audience and help drive action during Season 2.
PSL Season 1 saw the Delhi Panthers, owned by Rishi Kajaria of Kajaria Ceramics, take INR 1.5 crore as a prize. The inaugural year league became an instant hit. Not just with the players at the table or the passionate franchisees who follow their teams, but also with millions of other fans of the sport of poker. The Season 1 live stream recorded 4.5 million views on FB. The PSL final table registered 1.28 million views, which is 10% more than the 2015 WSOP Main Event final table views on ESPN. The numbers will make broadcasters happy as PSL finalizes a media rights partner for the second season, which has an increased budget for league marketing, media activation, fan engagement and production of diffusion.
The league aims to make poker a popular sport in India by bringing together a combination of skills, math, decision making and courage that are needed in the right mix to emerge as a poker champion. With a commitment of 150 crore spread over eight years, the owners of the team decided to continue their association with the league and 10 franchises were signed for the next 8 years. The prize pool this year is INR 3.6 crore and the league will run with online and live qualifiers starting in December, leading up to the team’s final selection in April 2018. The grand final will be held in Goa in May 2018.
This year, 12 teams will be made up of a total of ten players each, including a mentor and captain, two pro players, two free live qualifiers, three free online qualifiers and two wild card entries. Each team will bring together professionals and amateurs and will include the transmission of knowledge and skills to the youngest. While the first season saw 140 players being drafted, this year with three draftings, nearly 170 players may be eligible to participate. This year, the plan also includes broadcasting the league on television other than online, to reach a much larger audience.
Speaking of the start of season two, PSL co-founder and CEO Mr. Pranav Bagai said, “Two teams are up for grabs. There are interests. The owners of the league seek to get the best of the best on board. We are opening two teams to bid to give all poker enthusiasts across the country the opportunity to be a part of this fantastic growth story. Interested parties are encouraged to contact me through the Poker Sports League website ”.
Season two provides an opportunity for people passionate about the sport and with a mindset for business investing. PSL’s business model provides instant equilibrium with definite growth potential with a little effort. The ownership rights of the PSL franchisees for a period of eight years are INR 9 crore. What works in favor of investors is the year-over-year fee structure. The right to enter the fray costs only INR 57.5 lakh. Add to that 14 INR lakh due to player salaries and the team is gearing up to compete for a stake in the INR 3.6 crore season purse. The elite sport of poker is also attracting elite sponsorship interests.
Franchisees get a viable business model with assured returns on central pool income and some inventory to generate their own sponsorship income, which goes entirely to the account of the respective franchisees. Of the revenues of the central pool, 50% is distributed among the franchisees. There is no cap or limit to the share of each franchisee in this pool, which consists of media rights, sponsorships, merchandising and other license revenues.
An even better business lies in the rights of franchisees and the ability to generate their own income. Each franchisee gets a defined sponsorship inventory across TV, digital and social media platforms, live broadcasts and an offline brand, as well as an exclusive brand (80%) at at least 6 live qualifying events by team. The commitment of existing franchisees over the full eight-year available license term is a testament to the fact that PSL as a product won the first test to be accepted by stakeholders.
Commenting on the advent of the second season, Mr. Amit Burman, Founder of the Poker Sports League said: “The first season was just a trailer for what is fast becoming the first and only league. credible poker game designed entirely in India. We’ve received a big response from aspiring players and businesses over the past season and we’re happy to see that interest has only grown.
“With the emergence of massive online poker tournaments and fantastic leagues, the time has come for the Poker Sports League to formalize the history of poker in India. With over twenty thousand qualifying entries across India in the very first year, it is safe to assume the potential of poker in the country. PSL is sort of laying the groundwork for an international tournament and has the right ingredients to become a global brand. It is not wrong to say that PSL hopes to complement India’s growing poker ecosystem, ”added Mr. Anuj Gupta, Co-Founder of the Poker Sports League.