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Old 04-19-2011, 05:18 PM
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Default “Huge” Full Tilt Poker Sponsorship Deal with UFC Off Table After Indictment

From MMAPayout.com:

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MMAPayout detailed what it meant to the MMA landscape after Friday’s shocking news that Full Tilt Poker, along with other online poker sites, were seized by the FBI and indicted for bank fraud, illegal gambling, and money laundering.

Today, CNBC’s sports business reporter specialist, Darren Rovell, reported the following on his twitter:
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The UFC had a huge new sponsorship deal on the table with Full Tilt that will now go out the window with the feds bust.
MMAPayout spoke to members and managers within MMA industry, all sharing the same sentiment. They claim that the new deal would have been huge for the UFC, Strikeforce, and the fighters, but specifically, it really hurts the fighters as Full Tilt Poker is one of the better paying sponsors out there for those trying to make a living from the sport.

On Friday, MMAPayout reported that Full Tilt Poker was ramping up their promotional efforts with Strikeforce after Zuffa had acquired them, not to mention the big deal made between Fertitta Interactive (also owners of the UFC) and Full Tilt Poker a few weeks prior pending on legalizing online gambling in the United States, a bill that is being pushed by UFC/Station Casinos/Fertitta Interactive backed Nevada Senator Harry Reid. With the growing relationship, Full Tilt Poker was going to be heavily involved in future UFC events and promotional efforts that would have brought a good money to Zuffa and the fighters.

MMAPayout has also learned that Full Tilt Poker was expanding their sponsorship efforts within MMA (outside of the UFC) and was working on some other pretty big sponsorship deals that have since fallen through as well.

Payout Perspective:
As to what type of money MMA gets from Full Tilt Poker, Rovell discusses it a bit more here in his write-up breaking down the poker FBI bust. Brian Belasbough of Poker Royalty talked about some of the ramifications for the poker industry after Friday:
Quote:
When Pokerstars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker left the US market, 95 percent of the market share for US poker players absolutely disappeared and with that so did $200 million worth of marketing money and advertising money that these companies spent in order to acquire new customers. What that means is basically poker television shows like “The Big Game” on Fox and “Poker After Dark” on NBC are completely gone. So the poker landscape has changed dramatically in a very short period of time.

In addition to the poker television shows going away, there are a number of other sponsorship opportunities which have disappeared as well. There are 100 online poker players with sponsorships which likely will disappear. In addition to that there’s an entire industry of covering poker tournaments in the media in conjunction with that. ESPN had a $22 million deal with Pokerstars, which has to be over now and then the live events like the World Poker Tour, like the North American Poker Tour.
The other question that you have to ask here is that with the big sponsorship void left by Full Tilt Poker in MMA, what type of companies will step in and take their place? We also have to wonder what it says about MMA as a sport considering that one of its biggest sponsors was an illegal gambling company that had been operating and generating revenue through banking and legal loopholes. Big mainstream sponsors is something that the UFC and MMA has coveted for years, but luring them in hasn’t been as easy as once expected. The addition of new sponsors and TV networks could reveal a telling story about the ceiling of the sport in the next few years.

Focusing on the fighters, they have been taking bigger blows outside of the ring/cage than inside as of late. The removal of Full Tilt Poker as one of their bigger sponsors wasn’t the only blow dealt to them in the past year. When Authentic Brands Group purchased Sinister, TapOut and Silver Star (MMA apparel) and then decided to scale back their sponsorship money in MMA, it dealt an equal sized blow. One has to wonder with the lack of big MMA protions outside of Zuffa and with the recent trend of dying sponsors, how difficult it will be for fighters to make a living in the sport, which wasn’t an easy task before either.
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Old 04-19-2011, 05:43 PM
rearnakedchoke
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it had to be known that this was coming ... people were saying sites like partypoker and stuff were shooting themselves in the foot when they barred all US residents from signing up and concentrated on the rest of the world .. i guess they are laughing now ..

as for the ufc, i am sure they will find a better partner to work with ..
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Old 04-19-2011, 05:47 PM
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It's illegal to gamble online in the US, so it wasn't up to them. They did employee sneaky tactics, though, advertising "FullTiltPoker.net", but knowing that dumb Americans would just automatically use ".com" & end up joining the pay site instead of the free one.
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Old 04-19-2011, 05:50 PM
rearnakedchoke
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yeah, i know, but the fact that you could still sign up and open a cash account was still an option .. i beleve some of the other sites refused accounts with american addresses, which at the time people thought was silly .. but i guess today they are still up and running ..
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Old 04-19-2011, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rearnakedchoke View Post
yeah, i know, but the fact that you could still sign up and open a cash account was still an option .. i beleve some of the other sites refused accounts with american addresses, which at the time people thought was silly .. but i guess today they are still up and running ..
The government shut down a slue of them. I can't remember which (I think the previous MMAPayout article lists them), but it was more than just Full Tilt.
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