TSN.ca and PokerStars ante up

The website and sportscaster have teamed to create the co-branded TSN Poker Club, a free-to-play poker game designed to engage sports fans and promote both brands to their respective audiences.

While poker’s distinction as a sport may seem a bit dubious to some, TSN is betting that sports fans won’t mind dabbling in a game or two while browsing stats on the sportscaster’s website.

This week, the channel launched the TSN Poker Club, a co-branded online partnership with PokerStars.net, a well-promoted online gaming site that claims 30 million members worldwide. The partnership was arranged directly between the two brands with no agency involvement.

The venture is hosted on TSN.ca‘s pre-existing poker page and features a TSN-branded, ‘custom built poker environment,’ in which users can play the game on PokerStars proprietary software. The play is casual – not for cash – with free participation and TSN swag as prizes. Weekly tournaments will also be offered to engage repeat players.

PokerStars.net has been a long-time advertiser with TSN.ca, Geoff Fardy, Canada country manager, PokerStars.net, tells MiC, and the brands have been working on the TSN Poker Club for over a year. The strategy behind its creation is really quite simple, he says.

‘TSN.ca has a massive sports-oriented audience and creating this play-for-fun poker site with great prizing makes a nice addition for TSN.ca while providing strong branding and media exposure for PokerStars.net,’ he explains.

The TSN Poker Club is being promoted through PokerStars.net and TSN.ca exclusively. Ad opps tied to the venture are available through TSN’s regular inventory. The target demo for the Poker Club is adults 18 to 54.

TSN.ca has had an average of 4.65 million unique monthly visitors (Omniture) in the last 12 months. The website had its second-best month ever in January with 6.5 million UMVs, thanks in part to a big boost from the World Juniors and the NHL trade coverage, a recent release from the sportscaster said.