Andre Akkari, Brazilian poker pro, has secured a deal with the major multinational sportswear brand Puma. It appears that the Brazilian pro has redefined the notion of poker sponsorship with this deal.
During his career, Akkari has earned just over $1,5 million in live tournaments, however partly due to his deal with PokerStars, he’s been a relevant players for over ten years.
The poker pro has been one of PokerStars’ ambassador across South America for many years and has become a superstar in Brazil.
Thanks to his aptitude at the poker table, Andre has crossed over into the mainstream, much like Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu. Andre Akkari is now probably the most important name of the Brazilian poker industry.
Akkari’s popularity is, in fact, so high, that the player had the honor to carry the Olympic torch representing mind sports for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Other important Brazilian stars such as former World Cup Winner Zagallo e supermodel Adriana Lima also carried the Olympic torch. By being selected Akkari flew the flag for the poker community.
The Deal with Puma
It seems Akkari’s notoriety and fame struck Puma’s attention. On Monday 12 the player announced the news to his fans via his Instagram page.
The player wrote: “I am really happy to announce my new sponsor, welcome to the incredible poker world puma!”
In the past, other poker pros have landed deals with brands outside of the industry, but Akkari’s deal with Puma is far more significant than the deals done in the past.
This deal could have a huge positive effect on the poker industry, as Puma is one of the major brands in the sporting world.
This is the opposite from the movement of the poker industry signing deals with mainstream stars such as Neymar Jr and Cristiano Ronaldo. In this deal a mainstream brand is reaching out to a poker star. This new movement is hugely interesting and important to the industry.
The company has not yet released more details about the deal, but Akkari will probably feature TV and print advertising across South America.
Puma’s deal with the poker pro will help promote the mind sport in a whole new way and it might also open doors to other high profile players.
Other sports apparel companies, such as Adidas or Nike might adopt similar PR strategy and add top players to their rosters someday.