PokerStars is aiming to bridge the gap between poker and sports with a new $50 million online tournament festival.
Known as the Stadium Series, the latest innovation from PokerStars will feature 102 MTTs and a unique structure.
The action gets underway on July 5 and there will be tournaments for all bankrolls. However, there’s a twist. Instead of a long run of MTTs with no end goal, daily tournaments feed into weekly finales.
PokerStars Fuses Sport and Poker
MTTs will be split into three categories: low, medium, and high. The other twist, however, is that the buy-ins will increase each week. For example, in week one, the cost of a low buy-in event will be $5.50. In week two it will be $11 and so on.
Daily tournaments within the Stadium Series will stand on their own. However, the top finishers will also progress through to a weekly final within their category they qualified. In this sense, the Stadium Series is a hybrid compromised of guaranteed MTTs and satellites.
For sports fans, the format also mimics those used by the NBA, MLB, and FIFA. To further highlight the links between sports tournaments and the Stadium Series, PokerStars will broadcast action from the latter stages of certain events.
Joe Stapleton and James Hartigan will commentate in the same way they do for EPT live events. So, in this sense, PokerStars is making the Stadium Series a spectator sport.
Stadium Series Joins Wave of Lockdown Innovations
Although live poker is starting to return, online operators are still riding the wave of lockdown-induced activity. Partypoker is currently in the midst of its latest collaboration with Poker Central, while GGPoker is gearing up for the WSOP Online.
PokerStars has been less active on the innovation front than its peers in this respect. SCOOP was a success, but the tournament team hasn’t sought to capitalize on the culture of live/online crossovers.
The Stadium Series will change that. The $50 million guarantee is a statement of intent, but the novel format could be the biggest draw for players.
However, with Partypoker and GGPoker stealing the headlines in recent weeks, PokerStars can’t take anything for granted in the post-coronavirus world.