As of this week, there is now a long term deal in place that will see Sina Sports bringing the Global Poker League to television sets across mainland China. Sina Sports is a large digital sports media platform which leads the way when it comes to live sporting events, highlight shows, latest news, and discussion forums. Sina Sports is extremely popular in China. This partnership will involve the company launching a poker channel alongside its other sports selections, which will provide coverage of poker from around the world. The GPL will of course be the central focus of the channel, with over 400 hours of GPL matches streamed to the Chinese population throughout the season.
Educating Chinese fans about how the game is played and watched
The Global Poker League and Sina Sports will be working towards an overall expansion of interaction and participation in China when it comes to poker. Localised content will be broadcast to help new Chinese fans to see how the game can be played and watched. The partnership will include exclusive access to players and league events for Sina Sports, with special related poker shows and ideas being created for the Chinese market. One of these ideas is said to be a mainland China franchise which would be introduced for the 2017 season of the GPL.
Alex Dreyfus, President of the GPL stated: “The League’s first Asia-based franchise is the Hong Kong Stars, who have loaded their roster with some of the best poker players from China. This is exciting for us because we want locally relevant standouts of the game involved alongside poker’s global stars – it helps expose this sport to new audiences, such as those in China, that may be less familiar with the poker world.”
General Manager and Vice President of Sina.com, Arthur Wei was equally excited about the new partnership: “The time is right for a league like GPL to enter China. Already, Chinese people are used to poker-style games through playing traditional Chinese card games, and are looking for more diverse ways to play. Not only will GPL attract new sports fans, but it also will attract a following from Chinese people that may not consider themselves traditional sports fans. I believe that Sina Sports will be looked at for years to come as a visionary media company for having brought GPL into China.”
The new poker channel at Sina Sports will be on air in the earlier part of next month.