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Poker Sports League (PSL) is returning for an explosive third season in its all-new virtual avatar, the PSL – Virtual (V), from January 16! One of India’s most popular poker sports league, the PSL Season 3’s streaming rights were recently acquired by the OTT platform VOOT.
Season 3 of the PSL was initially conceptualized as a live series – before the COVID-19 pandemic made it practically impossible. Like most live poker ventures, PSL pivoted online.
The Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd-owned platform was in the running to bag the PSL streaming rights alongside several other contenders like Zee5, Disney+Hotstar, Jio TV, and MX Player. Launched in 2016, the first two seasons of the league had been broadcast on Discovery Communications India’s DSPORTS channel.
The PSL is making a comeback after an almost 29-month-long hiatus with eight teams in contention to win a share of the ₹1.20 Crore prize pool. The league will be hosted on the free-to-play Hashtag Poker app, and besides being streamed on VOOT, the action will be live-streamed on the app and the Hashtag Poker YouTube channel.
Dabur India Ltd chairman Amit Burman, who is also the co-founder of Mind Sports League, which runs PSL, said: “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.”
COO of Viacom18 Digital Ventures, Gourav Rakshit, was quoted in a press release as saying, “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. 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 monetization opportunity. This season, our focus is on reach and getting repeat viewers.”
Burman also revealed that the online poker portal, Pocket52, has been on board as the title sponsor of PSL Season 3 (virtual).
Elaborating on the collaboration, CEO of Pocket52, Nitesh Salvi, said, “Rooting from the same genes of the poker industry in India, we at Pocket52 are immensely gratified to associate with PSL. As is the new norm, this momentous virtual tournament is going to be streamed live on the leading OTT platform of VOOT of Viacom 18 Network, for the very first time in India.”
Fast-growing online poker site, PokerDangal had also hosted ₹5 Lakhs GTD GLORY that led to Aniruddha Joshi qualifying for the PSL Team Kolkata Kings. The poker site had become co-owners of the Kolkata Kings back in December 2019.
Online gaming startup Mobile Premier League (MPL) is sponsoring two teams, Goan Nuts, and Mumbai Anchors.
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