Matt Savage, perhaps poker’s most prominent tournament director, has added another title to his resume in announcing that he’s been hired as the new Head of Gaming and Poker for Sporting News.
Savage announced his new role for Sporting News, which began as a sports magazine in the 19th century, on Twitter. “I’ve been hired as the Head of Gaming and Poker for North America for @SportingNews,” he wrote, “a company that has been around since 1886 and my goal is not to compete with anyone but to enhance the industry and promote the game globally. We will try and work with everyone to achieve this goal.”
Savage, the lead tournament director for the World Poker Tour (WPT) for many years, confirmed that his new position with Sporting News won’t conflict with his WPT role, nor with his other prominent roles in the poker world. The one-time lead tournament director for the World Series of Poker is also one of the game’s most well-traveled officials, having helped major tournaments around the globe for more than two decades. He’s also widely known for his work as the founder and continuing board member of the Tournament Directors Association (TDA), which has been instrumental in codifying and standardizing the rules under which many major tourneys and series operate.
Savage’s role with Sporting News remains to be detailed
When contacted by Poker.org, Savage admitted he wasn’t able to detail his new duties as yet. His Tweets concerning his hiring hint at providing content on poker for Sporting News, though that may be just one part of his contributions in his new role.
Making Savage’s hire more intriguing is that Sporting News was purchased from former owner DAZN in 2020 by PAX Holdings, a British firm with interest in online gambling. At the time, conjecture centered on the value that the “Sporting News” brand name might have in the online-gambling world, especially in sports betting, with the newly opening U.S. market certainly in play.
Sporting News, though, would likely have to enter than market as a brand partner with land-based casinos on a state-by-state basis. The online sports-betting market in the U.S. would likely be of much greater interest to PAX than, say, online poker, yet the opportunity to enter that vertical might come to exist in the future as well.
Sporting News has already added a Savage profile to its online listing of prominent executives, and Savage’s crossover knowledge of sports betting and DFS (daily fantasy sports) is featured in that profile: “Matt has joined TSN as Head of Gaming, North America and whilst he is most well known for his activities in poker, he also has a keen understanding of sports betting and fantasy sports, hosting some of the highest stakes fantasy leagues in the US,” the profile’s second paragraph reads. Given that Savage’s title references “gaming and poker,” his role may broaden if and when Sporting News explores some of those marketing opportunities and partnerships.
Savage’s announcement capped off a busy weekend for the perennial Poker Hall of Fame finalist. Just a day earlier, he captured a 2021 Global Poker Award in the “Best Industry Person” category.
Featured image source: sportingnewsholdings.com