MSE pushes ahead with plans to ‘sportify’ poker

MSE pushes ahead with plans to ‘sportify’ poker

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 Totally Gaming
Alexandre Dreyfus wants the GPI to establish itself as poker's management body

Mediarex Sports & Entertainment (MSE), the parent company of the Global Poker Index (GPI), is to launch a new professional team poker league as part of a wider effort to ‘sportify’ the card game.

Launching next year, the Global Poker League (GPL) will feature a series of live, land-based events, during which players will compete inside a signature arena branded as ‘The Cube’.

The structure will be one-way sound-proofed and enable all fans present at the event, as well as those watching coverage, to view the action.

The inaugural GPL season will begin with an initial 12-franchise teams split into two conferences of the Americas and Eurasia.

Each team will represent certain cities in the respective regions, with the likes of New York and Los Angeles due to feature for the Americas, while London, Prague and Paris are all expected to have teams in the Eurasia league.

Teams will compete for at least 14 consecutive weeks in a series of matches that will be staged in a combination of online, studio or live venue formats, with land-based events due to be held outside traditional casino environments and instead at iconic venues around the world.

All matches will be live-streamed online while a number will also be broadcast on television alongside pre-match analysis with a panel of poker experts.

The launch of the new league comes after MSE in July collected $4.9m (€4.4m) in Series A funding for its ‘Sportify Poker’ initiative, which will be used to help fund the GPL.

Alexandre Dreyfus, chief executive of MSE, has previously said that he hopes the GPI can establish itself as the management body for poker, mirroring the same role that organisations such as the NBA and MLB oversee the sports of basketball and baseball in the US, respectively.

GPI already serves as the official ranking system for major poker franchises, such as the World Series of Poker, the European Poker Tour and Asia-Pacific Poker Tour.

“We’ve been talking and working tirelessly for a long time about how ‘We Sportify Poker’ and the launch of the GPL is a great stepping stone on our route to achieving that,” Dreyfus said.

“This isn’t going to be ‘yet another poker event’ - we’ll be bringing something new and exciting to the table.”

Earlier this year, Patrick Nally, head of the International Federation of Poker (IFP), told TotallyGaming.com that poker could be officially recognised by sport’s global authorities as soon as next year

 

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