Andy Ward, in his usual perceptive style, is having a dig at people who are sponsored in his recent blog entry, although his allusion might be a bit obscure for non-Brits. I agree with his sentiments but very much disagree with his outcomes - if you can get a sponsorship deal then as the curious gambling phrase goes, "fill your boots!" Because these times cannot last.
To explain my thinking, you will have to traverse back with me to the times of the Great Dot-com Explosion. These too were times of great wealth and little sense. I was fortunate, or maybe not, to be involved in a Dot-Bomb at the time. Many times I would meet with very intelligent people with great ideas, wonderful original ideas, but when asked "How do you make money?" they would come over all queasy and blank-eyed (incidentally my favorite answer was "monetize eyeballs"...that brings back the memories.) Internet poker and the sponsorship it brings is very reminiscent of this situation, well without the very intelligent people and ideas bit.
What in very simple terms do the sponsors get from their players? What has The Hendon Mob brought Prima that has justified its tremendous outlay? I don't know what their deal is, who pays RFB and other exes; nor do I know THM except by reputation and rumour. But its fairly clear that if THM were to have even a reasonably bad year, it would be very hard to justify that cost in terms of promotion and gained revenue from new players. In fact I think of myself as being very internet savvy, and to be frank I don't see what they are doing to bring revenue to Prima at all. Their site is mostly abandoned by them; they don't seem to be doing much promotion in terms of playing online; their results in events have mostly been in ones where there has been no logos anyway. The truth is that they are being sponsored because that is what Internet Poker Sites Do, not because of any real, tangible marketing $ to revenue benefit. And if the value of THM is questionable, what about Jac Arama?
What do you think would have happened to Ram and Barney in the recent Atlantic City events, as depicted in their diary, if poker sites were run by professional business people? Or Roy the Boy after admitting he avoided the people he was supposed to be promoting? They would be sacked of course. I am not guessing that these sites are run by the clueless. I know. By a chain of circumstance I happened to know the casino/poker room manager of a very substantial Poker site. He had no experience whatsoever in poker or casinos or gambling or leisure or even entertainment marketing. In fact he had been a junior marketing guy for a consumer goods firm. Excellent
Fill your boots whilst you can.