National Hockey League goaltender Roberto Luongo will be competing in the World Series of Poker Main Event as part of a sponsorship deal between the Canucks goalie and the British Columbia Lottery Corporation.
Luongo, who has played for the Vancouver Canucks since 2006, is an avid poker player who has taken part in several tournaments in the past. The all star goalie also holds a sponsorship deal with the BCLC and represents the province's Playnow.com gambling website. The BCLC has picked up the $10,000 registration fee for Luongo to participate in the tournament; although the goaltender's $6.7 million annual contract would be more than enough to cover the entry fee.
Kim Steinhart, the Senior Public Affairs Officer at the BCLC commented on the sponsorship, saying: "Businesses commonly partner with celebrities or sports figures to help strengthen their brand image."
"Roberto Luongo is an well-known celebrity in our marketplace, and a natural fit for this type of a marketing approach."
"The partnership provides BCLC with an opportunity to build the PlayNow.com brand by providing our customers with an opportunity to interact in a meaningful way with a well-known sports celebrity. The money for Luongo's agreement is part of BCLC's annual marketing budget and has no impact on revenue that flows through to the province."
The World Series of Poker Main Event begins on July 7th in Las Vegas, with a final table being announced around July 16th. After a three month break, the final table will meet up again starting October 28th to play for the championship.