HeadsUp looks to build multimedia poker brand

A Calgary-based company wants to revive Canadian Poker Player Magazine and boost a national tour's sponsor-friendly TV and mobile offerings.

Calgary-based HeadsUp Entertainment has bought the Canadian Poker Tour and Canadian Poker Player Magazine from Langley, BC-based Fifth Street Publishers. The purchase supplements HeadsUp Entertainment’s own Canadian Championship Poker brand as it strives to become a national force in poker content on multiple platforms.

Today, the Canadian Poker Tour announced a strategic marketing alliance with the World Poker Showdown, a leader in vacation destination poker getaways, to enhance and promote each others series of events. HeadsUp has also signed a deal with Calgary’s www.mobovivo.com MoboVivo to let iPhone users catch up on the game with full online streaming or mobile downloads of its TV programming.

Plans are in the works to relaunch Canadian Poker Player Magazine, which reportedly went ‘dormant’ in February. HeadsUp reports the relaunch is ‘a key element to the unfolding business model, which is designed to provide players with a comprehensive overview of what is happening in poker in Canada.’

HeadsUp president and CEO Kelly B. Kellner says the company is betting on the future of the game in Canada. ‘The model we have designed takes poker and tournament play to the next level with a properly designed player ranking system, as well as a nationally televised final event, something the tour has lacked in the past,’ he says.

‘We have worked very hard over the past three years to build a business model in the poker industry that can provide a multimedia solution to sponsors and advertisers looking to target a specific and valuable demographic,’ adds Kellner. ‘With a national television presence, the relaunch of the only national Canadian poker magazine and the rollout of a new interactive web presence, we are building a phenomenal foundation.’

HeadsUp’s Canadian Open Poker Championship series airs on The Score (Tuesdays at 7 pm, Thursdays at 9 pm and Saturdays at 10 pm EDT). This month, the company was completing another 13 one-hour shows from five casinos across the country. Other broadcast partners of the Canadian Poker Tour include TSN, Sportsnet and Casino & Gaming Television.

The new Canadian Poker Tour launches with a series of tournaments, including the Calgary Classic at Cash Casino (June 25-28), the Stampede Classic at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino (July 4-13) and an event at the end of August at Edmonton’s River Cree Resort and Casino. The company estimates that there will be 8-10 major stops on the 2008 schedule.