Posts Tagged ‘ESPN’

ESPN Releases WSOP Broadcast Schedule

 ESPN Releases WSOP Broadcast Schedule

A week from today marks the beginning of ESPN’s fall coverage of the 2016 World Series of Poker; within the past week, the “Worldwide Leader” released the complete schedule for the weekly broadcasts. Oh, how times have changed. Whereas a decade ago, we might have seen a number of preliminary events in addition to the $ 10,000 Main Event, now we are down to the WSOP Global Casino Championship and the Main Event. Somehow, though ESPN is getting sixteen episodes out of it and that is before the Main Event final table.

The coverage kicks off Tuesday, September 6th with the WSOP Global Casino Championship in two separate, one-hour episodes at 10:00pm and 11:00pm ET. The Championship is the culmination of the WSOP Circuit season. 100 players earn free seats into the event: the casino champion at Circuit stop and the Main Event winners of each stop, both in the United States and internationally, as well as the top points earners from the season who did not otherwise earn a free seat. Additionally, the top 100 players in the WSOP World rankings, based on gold bracelets events in 2014 and 2015, can buy-in to the tournament for $ 10,000.

The WSOP Main Event coverage begins less than a week later, on Sunday, September 11th and will continue each Sunday for the next six weeks after that. There will be two 90-minute episodes each night at 8:30pm ET and 11:00pm ET. There will also be one 10:30pm episode shoe-horned in on Monday, September 19th. The exact channel for the episodes varies, sometimes ESPN, sometimes ESPN2. Everything will also likely be streamed on WatchESPN/ESPN3.

This schedule is very interesting, considering the WSOP Main Event broadcast will be directly up against NBC Sunday Night Football and one might assume that there is a fair amount of overlap between football fans and poker fans.

The live coverage of the November Nine is scheduled for Sunday, October 30th at 8:30pm, Monday, October 31st at 8:00pm, and Tuesday, November 1st at 9:00pm. “Semi-live” is actually the more appropriate term, as the final table will be on a 30-minute tape delay, per Nevada Gaming Commission regulations. On the first night of the final table, play will go on until there are four players remaining; the broadcast will begin on ESPN and switch to ESPN2 at 11:00pm ET. The second day will be on ESPN2 and will continue until just two players remain. The final day of the November Nine will be shown on ESPN.

All hands of the final table will be broadcast with hole cards and commentary by the usual cast of characters: Lon McEachern, Norman Chad, Kara Scott, Antonio Esfandari, and Phil Laak. If it is like other years, expect guest commentators to pop in like perhaps Phil Hellmuth, Olivier Busquet, and Daniel Negreanu.

ESPN will also air a final table encore on Sunday, November 20th.

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WSOP Main Event on ESPN Begins Tonight

 WSOP Main Event on ESPN Begins Tonight

Tonight’s the night, sports fans. One of the landmark days of the fall. This evening, we get to watch the season’s first broadcast of Monday Night Foot…wait. Let’s flip the channel up one notch. Ok, there it is. Tonight, September 14th, marks the first episode of the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event on ESPN2.

Starting tonight and running weekly for nearly two months, the ESPN family of networks will air at least two hours of the Main Event. The first episode will be shown on ESPN2 from 8:00pm to 10:00pm Eastern, as well next Monday’s episode. The third episode will be on Wednesday, September 30th, and will shift one hour later.

In October, the Main Event episodes move to ESPN-proper on Sunday nights from 8:30pm to 11:00pm.

Those are all pre-taped, edited broadcasts. The November Nine return to the Rio on November 8th (fancy that!) and ESPN will be broadcasting the Main Event live (with a slight delay). On that first day, the final table will play down from nine to four players. On November 9th, those four will be reduced by half and on November 10th, the final two players will meet to determine a champion. This three-day November Nine format differs from years past, when the final table was whittled to three the first day and the winner was determined on the second day. Hopefully this new schedule will shorten the days a bit, not only for the players, but for the viewers, as well. DVRs have only so much storage space.

The other thing that is interesting about ESPN’s World Series of Poker Schedule is that the episodes will be competing directly against NFL football. In fact, the Monday night episodes go up against ESPN’s own Monday Night Football. They target similar demographics, though, and since the Monday Night Football matchups are no longer premium, ESPN may get some crossover viewing. Viewers might be less likely to flip the channel on Sunday nights, as the weekly games on NBC are the marquee prime-time games (example, last night had long-time rivals Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants going up against each other and next week features a rematch of last season’s dramatic NFC Championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers). ESPN may be able to risk it because of the prevalence of multiple screens in households and the ability to for people to stream programming on computers and tablets.

2015 World Series of Poker Main Event Television Schedule

Sept. 14 – 8:00pm-10:00pm – ESPN2
Sept. 21 – 8:00pm-10:00pm – ESPN2
Sept. 30 – 9:00pm-11:00pm – ESPN2
Oct. 4 – 8:30pm-11:00pm – ESPN
Oct. 11 – 8:30pm-11:00pm – ESPN
Oct. 18 – 8:30pm-11:00pm – ESPN
Oct. 25 – 8:30pm-11:00pm – ESPN
Nov. 1 – 8:30pm-11:00pm – ESPN
Nov. 8 – 8:30pm-11:00pm – ESPN (live final table)
Nov. 8 – 11:00pm – TBD – ESPN2 (live final table continued, playing down to four players)
Nov. 9 – 8:00pm – TBD – ESPN2 (live final table, playing down to two players)
Nov. 10 – 9:30pm – TBD – ESPN (live final table, heads-up)

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