ESPN Signs WSOP Broadcasts Until 2018

ESPN Signs WSOP Broadcasts Until 2018

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Disney, the parent company of the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN), have announced the signing of a seven-year deal with the World Series of Poker to keep broadcasting the event until 2017 – the previous contract was due to expire next year.

The deal has not yet been formally announced by representatives from Harrah's Entertainment, who owns the WSOP brand, or by ESPN themselves, but such a statement is expected on Tuesday.

This is something of a surprise to the outside observer – the 2007 WSOP was outshone by last year’s storm to victory from PokerStars pro Peter Eastgate – the 2008 event saw a 15% increase to 1.13m viewers. However, the 2009 WSOP has thus far failed to meet demands and has fallen short of 2008 despite the presence of Phil Ivey at the final table.

However, the addition of the "November Nine" concept -- a delayed, semi-live Final Table broadcast -- boosted ratings for the 2008 Final Table by 46% over the 2007 Final Table.

“ESPN is bullish on poker for a long time to come,” said a network executive off the record.

Tags: Poker News, ESPN, Signs, WSOP, Broadcasts, Until, 2018