A new 3D slots game will be launched by 888 to coincide with the first Premier League darts event today, as the company looks to leverage its sponsorship of the 15-week league across several areas of its business.
The Magical Forest game will initially be released on the 888 Games platform, before subsequently moving onto the Gibraltar-based company’s casino, while promotions involving the casino, poker and sports betting arms of the company will accompany the launch of the televised darts league at London’s 02 Arena.
And 12,000 pairs of 3D glasses will be handed to viewers at the venue tonight, before the matches involving reigning PDC world champion Adrian Lewis and former champions Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld.
888 Sports will be the official betting partner of the league, while a new element to the competition – a team game to accompany the individual league – will see two teams sponsored by 888 Casino and 888 Poker respectively.
The company originally sponsored the league, as well as the PDC World Championships, in its inaugural season in 2005, but has taken six years to return to the fold after pursuing other ventures (such as the sponsorship of Sevilla FC and the World Snooker Championship) in the meantime.
Itai Pazner, senior vice president of 888, believes the sport has spent the last few years building up an image which is more in tune with his company’s audience, and this has had a role to play in encouraging 888 to take up the sponsorship.
He said: “By staying in contact with [promotions company] Matchroom Sport in the last few years, we have realised that darts has become more mainstream and is changing its image to become a real entertainment event with high production values. Also it’s growing in other markets outside the UK, such as in Australia and parts of Europe.
“One of the benefits of darts league is it moves around the UK and has a high viewership from across the country, both on TV and at venues. It is the biggest-attended indoor sporting event in the UK so it gives us the opportunity for regional marketing.”
And the new ‘team’ aspect of the competition is one way in which 888 has been able to take advantage of the marketing opportunities offered by the Premier League.
“There was a lot of press interest especially with the team challenge – part of the appeal is that even if your player doesn’t win his team can do.”
Further promotions will follow the Magical Forest release on a weekly basis, with poker freerolls involving Premier League darts players planned to coincide with future events.