Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured) is to work with the online poker brand PokerStars as a brand ambassador. He will promote the game and the name in global marketing campaigns, PokerStars announced on Wednesday.
On May 7, PokerStars said it had hired Brazilian soccer international Neymar Jr as a brand ambassador.
“We’re proud that Ronaldo – and fellow elite player Neymar Jr – have chosen to make PokerStars a partner in their journey and to share their love of the game of poker with their legions of fans,” said David Baazov, chairman and chief executive of Amaya Gaming Group Inc.
Canada-based Amaya Gaming announced in June last year it was acquiring PokerStars in a US$4.9 billion leveraged deal.
Mr Ronaldo will promote PokerStars in advertising campaigns, and make special appearances in major live events and online poker tournaments. Amaya on Wednesday said that he would make a personal appearance and play poker at an event “later this year” but didn’t give further details. When playing PokerStars games online, the star will use the handle ‘C.Ronaldo’, said the firm.
Football is hugely popular among Asian consumers. Major figures from the sport have previously been used as brand ambassadors by companies linked to Asian gaming markets.
In November 2013, global casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp announced a deal with a London-based firm Beckham Ventures Ltd that saw the ex-England soccer captain David Beckham work as an ambassador for “dining, retail and leisure concepts” for the firm’s Macau operating unit Sands China Ltd and for the group’s Singapore property Marina Bay Sands. In public appearances at Las Vegas Sands’ properties however, Mr Beckham has not been seen in gaming areas.
In June 2014, South Korean casino operator Paradise Co said it had hired Portuguese football manager José Mourinho – from 2010 to 2013 Cristiano Ronaldo’s club manager at Spanish club Real Madrid – as the face of an advertising campaign.
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"If the [Macau casino] concessions are put up for bid, there will also be a lot of giant Chinese companies, some having nothing to do with gaming, which would like to take over these enormously successful casinos”
Professor emeritus at Whittier Law School in California, in the United States, and a visiting professor at University of Macau