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WSOP, ESPN Extend Deal Through 2017

Poker News - August 18th, 2009 - Written by Bruce

The World Series of Poker and ESPN have recently extended their broadcast deal through the 2017 World Series of Poker. The new seven year broadcast agreement is expected to be announced on Tuesday. ESPN has aired coverage of the World Series of Poker since 2003. The new deal will begin in 2011, after the current broadcast deal expires. Poker fans can find past World Series of Poker episodes on one of ESPN's various channels nearly every night of the week. Episodes air throughout the year on ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN Classic, and ESPN International. Jeffrey Pollack, president and commissioner of the World Series, commented that, "This long-term agreement ensures that our content will continue to reach sports fans around the world through a wide variety of platforms."

Over the last six years, ESPN's coverage of the World Series of Poker has helped poker's popularity tremendously. Ever since Chris Moneymaker won the Main Event back in 2003 poker has exploded in popularity. Many poker players have stated that when they saw Moneymaker win the Main Event on ESPN, they decided to take up the game themselves. With the new deal set in place, poker fans will be able to watch ESPN's WSOP coverage for at least the next eight years. ESPN has stated that its 2008 coverage drew a 0.9 rating. They said that last year's WSOP coverage reached 1.13 million viewers, which was up 15% from 2007's coverage. ESPN's 2009 WSOP coverage is currently underway, with the Main Event coverage set to begin on Tuesday night.

The 2009 World Series of Poker had a total of 57 poker tournaments, with all of them complete except the Main Event. This year saw 6,494 players all pony up the $10,000 buy in for the Main Event. The first place prize is a massive $8.5 million this year. The huge field has already been reduced to the final table of nine players. These players will resume play on November 7th, and the winner is expected to be crowned on November 10th. Starting with the first episode of this year's Main Event coverage tonight, ESPN will air a record 24 hours of Main Event coverage. Each Tuesday will have two back to back one hour episodes, leading up to the final episode which will air on November 10th. Poker fans will get to see the conclusion of the final table coverage on the same day the tournament is actually completed. With the WSOP and ESPN agreeing to a new broadcast deal, poker fans will be able enjoy the exciting poker coverage for years to come.

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