Getting the maximum value from a sponsorhip deal
In 2009, Estonian national volleyball team had made it to the European Championship final tournament for the first time after the re-independce of Estonia but the team was financially struggling in lack of sponsors and necessary means to take part in the tournament. Being resposible for all public communication activities of PokerStars in Estonia, KPMS seized a perfect oportunity to maximize sponsorship communication value, helping Estonian national volleyball team in their financial difficulties at the same time. For a reasonable amount PokerStars managed to become the main sponsors for the Estonian national volleyball team.
International brand awareness
PokerStars, new to Estonian market, became the main sponsors with a certain plan to get additional possibilities for raising their brand awareness. From the very beginning of the deal, media as well as the volleyball community welcomed PokerStars as sort of a hero for giving the national team a chance to play at the European Championship tournament. As an additional value, the deal enabled brand displays also in large volleyball countries and poker markets such as Holland, Russia, Finland etc, the ones that Estonian team was playing against.
Attention with a PR trick
Outdoor ad campaign was developed to get more people to cheer for Estonian team following the example of Arnold Rüütel, the President of Estonia, Vilja Savisaar, Member of the European Parliament, Koit Toome, local pop star, and weather girl Niki who were willing to participate in the campaign. The campaign received a lot of attention and commenting in general media as well as in social media, benefiting both PokerStars as well as Estonian volleyball. In addition, a deal was negotiated for ongoing coverage in Kanal 2 TV news program Reporter enabling to reach even more people.
In addition to the official uniform of national volleyball team with PokerStars logo, team’s fan shirts were also produced that can still be seen at volleyball matches and city scene in summer. Print and online media is also still occasionally using the PokerStars branded photos of the volleyball players.
Attracting visitors to poker section
To push it even further, KPMS organised a public contest celebrating the launch of a new poker news and blog section in the sports tab of a popular Estonian newspaper Õhtuleht. People were asked to comment on poker articles with their PokerStars user name to win a trip for two to Turkey and see the Estonian national volleyball team play. At the same time readers of Delfi, a popular online news site, were asked to play a free poker tournament on PokerStars, the winner of which also received a trip to Turkey for two.
PokerStars also supported Estonian Volleyball Championship several time and received in return their logos on referees’ uniforms and TV advertisement time that was otherwise hard to get and realise for a gaming company. For several times, PokerStars was also the presenting sponsor of the beach volleyball series where logos on players’ shirts, massive branding at the tournament locations and public contests for audience helped to increase the brand awareness even more. All the stops of the series were also covered by a dedicated TV show and promoted by advertising in television, radio and print media.