Poker has been rising in popularity for quite some time in many parts of India with many online poker operators nabbing the opportunity to get a piece of the growing market. PokerBaazi is the latest poker operator that is making tremendous effort to market itself to the Indian poker-playing market through various endorsements with the most recent being their move to sign Indian Super Middleweight boxing champion Vijender Singh.
The signing of sporting figures has proven to be quite an effective marketing method especially in the west where the likes of Neymar Jr, Usain Bolt, Christiano Ronaldo, Boris Becker and Rafael Nadal have represented PokerStars as ambassadors at one time or the other. On a similar note, British former World Super Middleweight champion Carl Froch is currently the PartyPoker ambassador and Brazillian soccer star Denilson is currently representing 888poker. Evidently, the success of the endeavors have attracted the interest of other online casino operators both in the West and the rest of the world – India is just one of them and we should see the trend continue with even more public figure endorsements in the near future. This move is particularly important for markets that are similar to the Indian market where poker is still disregarded because it is not considered to be a game of skill and it is also still illegal. The goodwill that public figures, sports figures, and celebrities attract is rather a big deal when it comes to ensuring that poker is legitimized in the country and that it eventually appeals to the mainstream audience.
In addition to bridging the gap between PokerBaazi and Hindu-speaking states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, PokerBaazi founder Nakivran Singh also believes that Vijender’s sporting background will play a significant role in the campaign to take poker to the next level in India.
“It gives me immense pleasure to welcome Vijender Singh on board as the brand ambassador of PokerBaazi.com. As a professional boxer, he has already won tremendous accolades for India in the past. His reputation as a serious sportsperson and champion will help us in promoting poker as a serious sport that only flourishes on sheer skill and talent. We are looking forward to a long-term association with Vijender Singh,” the PokerBaazi founder said in a January 22 press release.
After winning multiple medals as an amateur boxer, Singh went ahead to win all of his ten professional fights, seven of which were through knockouts. His success on the global stage made him one of India’s leading sports figures and amassed him a Twitter following of over 3.2 million. While the Indian boxer’s social media presence may not be at par with those of former sportsmen and now poker players like Usain Bolt or Christian Ronaldo, his new deal with PokerBaazi will work in both their advantages – 3.2 million followers is still a pretty big deal.
Singh himself is quite happy with his sponsorship deal saying, “As a sportsperson, it is always an honor for me to be part of campaigns or associate with brands that endeavor to promote sports in the nation. PokerBaazi is doing a great job of utilizing technology and letting Indians play online a game that they adore.”