ESPN will continue to offer extensive coverage of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) despite backing away from deals with two of the companies involved in Black Friday. The sports entertainment network has added even more WSOP coverage with 34 extra hours of semi-live coverage for all those that can’t get enough of the poker bug.
It’s proposed that the coverage, which gets underway in July, will be broadcast on a 30-minute tape delay so that hole cards can be shown during the coverage of the NLTH main event on ESPN2 and ESPN.
Executive director of the WSOP, Ty Stewart, commented, “This is a historic milestone for ESPN and the WSOP. We are extremely proud to be with a company dedicated to realizing the potential of the game.”
Like many others related to the gaming industry, media outlets were hit hard by the Black Friday indictment, something outlined in one of Professor I. Nelson Rose’s recent blog posts. Advertising for PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker was removed from the network’s programming and a deal with PokerStars to cover the North American Poker Tour, thought to be worth $22m, was terminated by ESPN.
In light of this, it may come as little surprise that ESPN is jumping at the chance to broadcast as much of what they deem “ok to screen” poker as they can.
It will be interesting to see what they do about players wearing branding as part of Team Pro or Team Full Tilt. After removing all trace of PokerStars from their site and programming, would they simply completely disregard the presence of the players? Maybe they’d put a picture of Mickey Mouse’s face over the players’ face and badge for the duration of the program. It is Disney after all.