Organisers of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) revealed that the global television and digital media rights to the annual summer WSOP tournament held in Las Vegas have been acquired by Poker Central. Thanks to the agreement that have been reached between ESPN and Poker Central, programming from the tournament would be expanded, including the live event coverage as well as the original episodes.
The Chief Digital Officer at Poker Central, JR McCabe, commented on the agreement with ESPN, saying they were very glad to add a premium poker brand such as the WSOP to their constantly increasing poker-related content portfolio. He further revealed Poker Central’s intentions to help WSOP expand even more, and make poker lovers around the world even more engaged with the game.
Under the terms of the agreement, ESPN will broadcast same-day coverage of the World Series of Poker Main Event for the first time. It will air the Main Event from Day 1 to the final table’s end. This will not be a one-off model, but one that is set to continue through 2020. In addition, Poker Central is set to offer various sponsorship opportunities and commercial inventory as part of the deal.
A number of important changes are expected to take place thanks to the agreement between Poker Central and ESPN. First, a total of ten consecutive days of live coverage of the WSOP Main Event. The event is to be aired on ESPN/ESPN2 from July 8 to July 17th, starting with the event’s Day 1A through Day 7. The final table of the WSOP Main Event will also get three-day coverage on ESPN/ESPN2 between July 20th and 22th. Under the terms of the Poker Central and ESPN agreement, the elimination of the “November Nine” format is also to be broadcast.
The Director of Programming and Acquisitions of ESPN, Dan Ochs, also confirmed of the deal, saying that WSOP events had long been an integral part of the ESPN coverage.
As revealed by WSOP organisers on the tournament’s official website, under the terms of newly-reached agreement, ESPN is to get an estimated 40 hours of live coverage of WSOP Main Event each July through 2020. also, the media will get original packaged shows estimated to a total of 130 hours on an annual basis. What is more, Poker Central is to exclusively stream any coverage not aired by ESPN through its digital distribution channels.
The Executive Director of WSOP Ty Stewart commented on the agreement, saying that ESPN had been working in partnership with the World Series of Poker for a decade and a half now, so it was a great thing for both parties to extend their collaboration to a new level into the following decade. According to Mr. Stewart, the fact that ESPN would provide the WSOP Main Event with daily live coverage came as a demonstration of a huge commitment on behalf of the multimedia sports entertainment company.