Maybe PokerStars is like all us fair-weather soccer fans who get World Cup fever every four years. After all, they just added the biggest possible footballer to Team SportStars – Cristiano Ronaldo – a year after the 2014 Cup.
In a move that I, and only I predicted weeks ago (…okay, probably not even close to true), Ronaldo finally confirmed all the rumors that have been swirling about signing with PokerStars. “I’m looking forward to taking my game to the online and live poker tables and meeting my fans head to head,” said Ronaldo. “Although football is my world, poker has always been my game. I’m very excited to join the team.”
Michael Hazel, interim CEO of PokerStars, now turned Ronaldo fanboy, had some glowing things to say about their new sponsored athlete. “Ronaldo is one of the most famous names in the world and PokerStars is thrilled to partner with him. We look forward to him spreading his love of the game worldwide by sharing his PokerStars experiences with his huge social following and fan base,” Hazel said.
This move comes on the heels of PokerStars signing Neymar, which was not long after Zlatan Ibrahimovic turned his nose up at the brand. In any case, it seems that Stars definitely has two guys who can really contribute to their growth from a social-media-popularity-contest standpoint.
Ronaldo has 103 million Facebook fans along with 35.5 million Twitter followers. Neymar has 51 million Facebook friends and 18 million Twitter followers. Combine the two together and you have a hell of a lot of people viewing their posts.
It’s still unclear how much PokerStars is paying for these two soccer legends – definitely millions of dollars to each. But given the massive social-media reach they have, and endless line of adoring groupies, it won’t be hard for Ronaldo and Neymar to generate more popularity for the world’s largest poker site.