Behind porn site xHamster’s penetration of the sports market with Promosport Racing sponsorship

xHamster partnership

Earlier this week, porn website xHamster announced its sponsorship of Italian cycling team Promosport Racing, sparking a collective “what?” from sports marketers.

Why was a porn site that documents almost half a billion visits per month opting to sponsor an Italian cycling team founded in 2013? The Drum questioned the xHamster, the brand's fluffy porn mascot [and official PR spokesperson], to get to the bottom of the move.

xHamster runs with the tagline ‘Just Porn No Bullshit’ and has been a leading platform for amateur pornographic videos, free for the public’s consumption, since it was founded in 2007. On its tie-up with the “bold and brave” cycling team Promosport Racing, it said competitive cycling was similar to “being an adult entertainment brand” as it also requires “fast forward thinking and pushing yourself day by day”.

The sponsorship, the brand’s first foray into sports may, on the surface be a seemingly odd move, however, xHamster assures The Drum: “We all watch porn. The audience is expanding due to adoption of mobile devices and the free laptop and tablet solutions.

"Thus, the content consumption is growing and the entire industry is continually adapting to new niche categories by providing a vast variety of choice. Sports fans are no exception."

So far the deal seems pretty vanilla, a one-year sponsorship of an Italian cycling team, although xHamster tells The Drum that there are a number of on-brand events in the works to “bring adult entertainment to mainstream” and “eliminate the hypocritical label given by our society upon porn-related content”.

He is also is coy when asked about future sponsorships, claiming xHamster is “open to offers if it fits our strategy”.

Upon signing the partnership with Promosports Racing, a press release said both companies were keen to “promote and develop cycling as the new healthy way of lifestyle”.

Assumptions can be made as to how xHamster is promoting a healthy lifestyle although it claims to make an additional contribution. The company has leveraged itself as a means of stress release – at the start of the year releasing an ad to make the point.

Sports is but one of the niches the company is looking to penetrate with above and below the line initiatives in the works to spread “bike culture in particular among our fans”.

In the works it even has a new web design launch coming later this month and an xHamster limited craft beer line (Belgian tripel, 8.5% ABV).

All-in-all, the move marks a move into maturity for the porn site - and as a result - porn sites in general.

The question is, are they ready to take off the training wheels and fully enter the public's eye, out in the open?

The company has upped its marketing on many levels:

It has released a beer.

It launched a crowdsourced rebrand after taking entries from users.

Making a Murderer’s Brendan Dassey was to receive a trip to Wrestlemania is he managed to walk free from prison.

It also banned porn in North Carolina after the bathroom bill flared up.

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