Is poker a sport? Poker enthusiasts around the world would certainly say yes, however that didn’t necessarily ring true in the minds of the Canadian media. Poker is often viewed as a game of luck played by men in poor physical condition over several drinks. In reality, poker requires mental toughness, concentration, strategy, practice, stamina and a competitive edge to play at the highest levels. The challenge faced by PokerStars.net, the world’s largest online poker site and Paradigm Public Relations, was to help change that perception and attitude with the Canadian media.
Strategy & Execution:
A 12 month share of voice media analysis revealed that only one news article in 2008 referred to poker as a sport or skill. To improve on this, Paradigm created a campaign focusing on media trips, a press conference and traditional media relations. Paradigm identified key media to send to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), one of the world’s largest poker tournaments, held in the Bahamas each January. Paradigm hit the jackpot when a 23-year-old Canadian won first place and the $3 million prize at the PCA. Within 24 hours, Paradigm coordinated a press conference including securing a venue, developing speaking remarks, signage, media materials and media relations.
The media relations campaign generated more than 170 stories through the media trips and the press conference:
40 stories were generated by the four media sent down to the PCA
92 per cent of the coverage featured a spokesperson quote
Media attending the press conference included The Canadian Press, Global TV, CBC and CityTV
62 per cent of the media coverage contained the key message that poker is a sport or a skill. That number rose to 72 per cent of the media coverage by the end of the year.