World Poker Tour, Allied Esports Ink Deal With TV Azteca
The World Poker Tour announced a five-year strategic alliance with TV Azteca, a company of Grupo Salinas that will bring WPT’s poker content library to a growing Latin America audience. In addition, the WPT’s sister company, Allied Esports, and Grupo Salinas have entered into an agreement to work toward developing and launching an esports strategy in Mexico.
Pursuant to the strategic alliance, TV Azteca’s multimedia network will aggressively promote the WPT, and in partnership with Grupo Salinas’ companies, the World Poker Tour will introduce its premier poker events throughout Mexico. Further, WPT will license its internationally recognized brand to TV Azteca to develop social poker and gaming products customized exclusively for the Latin America marketplace. As the World Poker Tour’s global presence grows, Grupo Salinas will feature WPT-branded merchandise throughout its stores, placed all over Mexico and throughout Latin America.
TV Azteca will also introduce a Spanish-language WPT-branded social poker game, the first such offering created exclusively for the Spanish-speaking community. This offering will be expanded to include poker, casino games, education, and will be signed to become a social gaming hub for the region. Moreover, TV Azteca plans to incorporate WPT’s assets in the region to create a rewards program unlike any other in social poker today. The brand offering is expected to be announced soon and will be fully customized in terms of language, style, and payment system for the Mexican and larger Latin American community.
Bolstering this new offering will be the power of TV Azteca’s broadcast position in Mexico. TV Azteca has pledged to localize all WPT programs with well-known world-class commentators who will be announced at a later date. Incorporating a local celebrity roster from TV Azteca is expected to ensure WPT’s 17 seasons of televised content has new life and greatest impact to the tens of millions of viewers in the free-to-air market of coverage. The two groups will also collaborate to produce original Spanish-language programs at TV Azteca’s state-of-the-art studios located in Mexico City. TV Azteca is the number-one sports network in Mexico and controls more than 40 local broadcast and regional free-to-air stations, as well as providing cable packages including Netflix and HBO for the region. TV Azteca’s free-to-air stations reach over 95% of the Mexican market and have the potential to make WPT appointment programming.
Beyond plans for multi-channel television distribution, the WPT will partner with TV Azteca to put on up to two WPT Main Tour events, and eight WPTDeepStacks and WPT500 events each season. These world-class poker tournaments will take place as part of the newly developed WPT LATAM Tour, with the first event expected to take place within the first twelve months of the alliance.
Grupo Salinas was formed in 2001 by Ricardo Salinas and operates as a holding company to the following enterprises: TV Azteca, Grupo Elektra, Advance America, Banco Azteca, Seguros Azteca, Afore Azteca, Italika, Punto Casa de Bolsa, TV Azteca Digital, Totalplay, Totalplay Empresarial, and Totalsec.
Grupo Salinas’ companies operate in Mexico, USA, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and Panama.
“This extraordinary deal with TV Azteca represents a historic advancement for the World Poker Tour into Latin America as WPT continues its global growth,” says Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour. “Aligning with Grupo Salinas and having their full commitment behind this project enables us to leverage its extensive network of television distribution outlets, land-based casinos, social media platforms, and merchandising venues, to engage with the Latin America poker and social games market.”
Esports Agreement: The next phase
With more than 2.2 billion gamers globally, and viewership and revenue growing at double digits rates, esports represents a huge opportunity. Recognizing this, Allied Esports and Grupo Salinas are working toward an agreement to deliver live esports experiences, esports related content, and an online platform to the markets in Mexico and throughout Latin America.
As announced in December 2018, the World Poker Tour and Allied Esports International, both currently owned by Ourgame International Holdings Limited, are expected to be acquired, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other conditions to closing, by Black Ridge Acquisition to form Allied Esports Entertainment.
“We believe this alliance with Grupo Salinas further demonstrates the cohesive integration that can take place between WPT and Allied Esports. We expect Grupo Salinas and TV Azteca to be exceptional partners for WPT and Allied Esports in the Latin America market,” says Ken DeCubellis, CEO of BRAC and future CFO of AESE.
“Grupo Salinas and TV Azteca graciously welcome the World Poker Tour and Allied Esports as part of our wealth of offerings across Latin America and Mexico,” says TV Azteca CEO Benjamin Salinas. “We are fully committed to using our vast network to completely change the social gaming market in Mexico and to ensure that these games are available to all people in ways that are catered to them. By pairing with the WPT in this long-term relationship, we are taking a major step into social gaming and the global growth of poker as we fulfill our mission of being fully dedicated to best-in-class products, services, and entertainment to the market.”