Well known online poker website Full Tilt Poker has ponied up and taken the decision to sponsor major Hearthstone eSports team G2 Esports’ Hearthstone:Heroes of Warcraft Team. A spokesperson from Rational Group which owns the brand Full Tilt together with the worlds biggest online poker brand Pokerstars commented that one of the main reasons for the sponsorship was to attract more poker minded players and the potential for crossing over Hearthstone eSports fans to its portfolio of online poker sites. No numbers have been released yet as to how much money the sponsorship is worth nor over what period but there is speculation that the monetary amount is in the low millions of dollars. Furthermore it was not known how Full Tilt will use the team to leverage its brand i.e. will they attend all the major Hearthstone events as a branded Full Tilt Poker team or will there be TV commercials done or other branding and commercial opportunities.
The logic could make sense. Hearthstone is a game that has often been compared to playing poker with similar strategies and mindset needed in order to be successful. The game boasts over 40 million players worldwide with revenues in the region of $25 million a month. Hearthstone is considered the most popular card game on the growing eSports scene with some professional players earning over $2 million a year in prize money alone, never mind sponsorship’s and endorsement deals.
“G2’s Hearthstone constituency is made up of Team Nihilum. Players in this team include the following: Lifecoach, Lothar, Rdu, and Thijs, Majority of these players joined G2 in early October. Notably, Lifecoach was previously a professional real money poker player before making the move over to Hearthstone, so Full Tilt’s thinking that there could be a strong crossover does seem relevant.