BCLC Sponsors Roberto Luongo WSOP Entry
In an innovative marketing move, and one which is sure to increase brand awareness, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), announced that it is sponsoring former Vancouver Canucks goalie, Roberto Luongo in the current World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.
The operator said that it has paid the $10,000 needed as a buy in fee for the goalie-turned-poker-pro in this year's WSOP Main Event.
The BCLC issued a statement this week stating: "Businesses commonly partner with celebrities or sports figures to help strengthen their brand image."
"Roberto Luongo is an well-known celebrity in our marketplace, and a natural fit for this type of a marketing approach," added the senior public affairs officer for BCLC, Kim Steinhart.
BCLC Builds PlayNow.com Image Through Luongo
Earlier this year, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation signed on Luongo to be the face of its new online poker brand through its PlayNow.com site.
Speaking about BCLC sponsoring Luongo's WSOP entry, Steinhart said: "The partnership provides BCLC with an opportunity to build the PlayNow.com brand by providing our customers with an opportunity to interact in a meaningful way with a well known sports celebrity.
"The money for Luongo's agreement is part of BCLC's marketing budget and has no impact on revenue that flows through to the province," he said.
Luongo Survives First Day of WSOP
The WSOP Main Event kicked off on the weekend (Saturday), and Luongo survived the first day of action.
Luongo said that the Main Event was the first time that he was playing in a live tournament, although he had played poker in gaming rooms on the Las Vegas Strip during visits to Sin City in recent years.
"I've put in some long shifts online," said Luongo. "I've played in some tough tournaments online. It's different playing the game in a poker room. There is a lot more going on around you in a live game."
Luongo began the Main Event with 30,000 in tournament chips as did all other players, and by 10.30 pm on the first day, he had 61,000 in chips and was listed in 21st place. His brother, Fabio, did significantly better and was listed in fifth place with 104,000 chips.
After three Day One flights for the Main Event, the field will be reduced as blinds and antes increase. By the 16th of June, the final nine players will be determined, and they will return to the Rio in October to play for the gold bracelet and the title of WSOP Main Event winner.
Luongo played for the Vancouver Canucks hockey team for twelve years, and also played for the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers.