Online bridge giant Bridge Base Online and the ACBL have contracted to take their partnership to new heights.
“BBO’s robot games will be the only robot games sanctioned to award ACBL masterpoints,” announced Robert Hartman, ACBL chief executive officer.
Hartman makes it clear that OKbridge and Swan will continue to be sanctioned to award masterpoints in human games just as they currently do. “Online bridge will continue to play an expanded role in the future as we attempt to attract and educate the next generation of players,” he says. “Partnering with the world’s largest online bridge club is the most efficient and logical way for the ACBL to expand its technical footprint.”
Uday Ivatury, BBO’s chief executive officer says, “BBO and ACBL share two goals: to promote bridge and to better serve our members. In addition to continuing to provide technical expertise and online exposure for ACBL, BBO will be paying a substantial royalty. I expect that our partnership will lead to a healthy exchange of ideas, software and players.”
Through this alliance, the ACBL will realize an additional $2 million in revenue over the next four years in addition to the standard club sanction fees that BBO already pays. Other terms of the agreement include the two organizations expanding their cross-marketing to drive attendance to online and face-to-face games as well as conducting joint membership drives.
According to Hartman, analytics demonstrate BBO is one of the top generators of referral traffic to the ACBL website. “On average, 1000 referrals a month link to our site via BBO,” Hartman says. “These numbers speak to BBO’s tremendous influence.”
The two CEOs agree that playing electronically does not supplant playing at clubs and tournaments, but offers a stepping stone to face-to-face bridge and a means to stay connected to the game when there are no other alternatives.
“It is my experience that people play online for the convenience,” Ivatury says. “They play at clubs for the joy.”
Hartman notes that BBO has already provided support to the ACBL with Ivatury’s participation on management’s Technology Committee and the recent launch of Just Play Bridge, designed by BBO for the ACBL website. More online games are in the pipeline.