Fox News Business is reporting That World series of Poker has signed a deal with ESPN ensuring their coverage of the World Series of Poker through 2017. While this should come as no surprise, having the WSOP stay at ESPN is probably great for the franchise and great for poker as a game. Having consistency as well as a long term vision is something most successful sporting franchises covet. And in this situation, the franchise is the brand WSOP.
Under the new agreement ESPN will air a minimum of 32 hours of WSOP footage annually. The footage will air across all ESPN networks, and obviously, because they have owned the rights for so long, they have an extensive amount of backup material. Some weresurprised by the long term deal, as poker ratings have been down from years past. In 2008 the WSOP had an average of 1.13 million viewers (up 15% from 2007). The 2009 WSOP had fallen by 8% from the 2007 numbers, but these stats are incomplete as the final table has not been aired yet (and ratings for the final table will likely surpass that 8% gap).
“We are very excited to continue our relationship with Harrah’s to deliver the largest, richest, and most prestigious gaming event in the world to fans across a variety of our platforms,” – Doug White