Home >News >India >OTT platform Voot bags streaming rights for Poker Sports League

NEW DELHI: Viacom 18 Media Pvt. Ltd-owned over-the-top (OTT) video streaming platform Voot has bagged streaming rights for Poker Sports League (PSL). The league will hold its third season online as the pandemic has disrupted the physical tournament.

Zee5, Disney+Hotstar, Jio TV and MX Player were also in talks to acquire PSL.

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Instead of the five-day on-ground event, the virtual league will have eight teams battling it out over almost two months. The virtual matches begin from 18 January via live streaming on Voot from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. The grand finale is scheduled for 20 February.

Esports platform Pocket52 has come on board as the title sponsor, said Dabur India Ltd chairman Amit Burman, who is also the co-founder of Mind Sports League, which organizes the poker tournament.

“I believe the audience that poker appeals to is well-aligned with Voot. The OTT platform already has an experience in hosting gaming and reality shows which makes it a perfect fit for us," Burman added.

Targeted at users of 18-35 years, PSL was launched in 2016. The tournament was broadcast on Discovery Communications India’s DSPORTS channel for the past two seasons. However, the significant shift of eyeballs to digital platforms, and the covid crisis forced the organizers to host the league digitally.

“Skill-based online games are capturing the imagination of the country and as a platform which has a relatively younger viewer base, we are automatically aligned with these games," said Gourav Rakshit, chief operating officer, Viacom18 Digital Ventures.

"Poker, in particular, offers excitement and drama to the audience. We will target poker groups on social media and digital platforms as well, to draw more traffic to the league. Our aim is to evangelize and get as many people to see the tournament as possible this year. Once it becomes a spectator show, then there’s definitely a larger monetisation opportunity. This season, our focus is on reach and getting repeat viewers."

Online platform PokerDangal has come on board as the team sponsor for Kolkata Kings, while gaming startup Mobile Premier League (MPL) is sponsoring Goan Nuts and Mumbai Anchors.

PSL 2020 promotional campaign will kickstart on 14 January through radio, outdoor and digital and social media platforms. PSL season 2 saw 20,000 registrations from poker players.

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