At the start of May, Cristiano Ronaldo posted a photo of himself online sat at a poker table in front of his favourite hand and a stack full of PokerStars chips. A few days later, however, PokerStars signed Barcelona striker Neymar Jr as a brand ambassador, leaving many to think Ronaldo had been snubbed by the world’s biggest online poker room. That conclusion has now been proved premature as PokerStars has indeed added Cristiano Ronaldo to its “Team Sports Stars”.
Following announcement of the news, the Real Madrid forward commented: “I like playing for winning teams, and PokerStars is the perfect partner for me. As a brand, it is always looking at ways to improve and stay ahead of the curve, and as an athlete that is something I truly respect.” Ronaldo, 30, is one of the most successful and highly paid soccer players in the world, enjoying a huge social media following like few others with more than 103 million fans on Facebook, and a further 35.5 million on Twitter. In fact, within three hours of revealing his new poker sponsor more than 1.3 million people had already read his message. Needless to say having such unbridled social reach offers PokerStars huge marketing potential as Cristiano Ronaldo sets about his new role of promoting PokerStars products, by competing both online and at PokerStars sponsored tournaments in the live arena. This is a role in which Cristiano Ronaldo is sure to excel, too, as he is known to be one of the most competitive players in soccer, an approach he takes to other fields of life, including the poker tables.
In 2010, Daniel Cates found this out after competing against Ronaldo at a $1/$2 PLO cash game, later commenting “Wow, I am getting destroyed by this guy and he hardly plays.” Commenting on PokerStars’ latest signing, Amaya CEO David Baazov said: “Ronaldo is part of a new generation of global superstar athletes that work hard, play smart and encourage their fans to share in their lives. We’re proud that Ronaldo, and fellow elite player Neymar Jr, have chosen to make PokerStars a partner in their journey and to share their love of the game of poker with their legions of fans.” –