The deal also includes live pay-per-view and online coverage of this year’s final table through ESPN.com. This will be the first time the WSOP final table will be aired live.
Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed. Although we gave it the old college try to find out.
LIVE PPV AND ESPN.COM COVERAGE OF 2006 FINAL TABLE INCLUDED
ESPN, Inc. has reached a multi-year agreement with Harrah‚Äôs Entertainment, Inc. to televise the World Series of Poker presented by Milwaukee‚Äôs Best Light, the world‚Äôs richest poker tournament, it was announced today by John Wildhack, ESPN senior vice president, programming acquisitions and strategy, and Jeffrey Pollack, commissioner of the World Series of Poker. The new deal will begin with ESPN‚Äôs telecasts of the 2006 World Series of Poker and is highlighted by the first live pay-per-view and online coverage of this year‚Äôs Final Table.
For the suggested retail price of $24.95, poker enthusiasts will be able to see all the action as it happens with The World Series of Poker Live! from the 2006 Final Table on their TV screens or via live video stream at ESPN.com, starting at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, Aug. 10, until the champion is crowned. This year‚Äôs winner is expected to claim an estimated $10 million. The pay-per-view special will be offered in addition to ESPN‚Äôs regularly televised presentation of the 2006 World Series of Poker including circuit championships, bracelet championships and the entire Main Event on ESPN with content and preview episodes on ESPN360 (broadband) and coverage on ESPN.com.
‚ÄúThis agreement signifies our commitment to provide both our core and casual viewers with programming that offers the highest levels of competition and entertainment value across a variety of media assets. We look forward to continuing to build this premier franchise with our partners at Harrah’s,‚Äù Wildhack said.
Pollack said, ‚ÄúSince 1993, ESPN has been the exclusive telecast partner of the World Series of Poker. Its programming expertise and global distribution has helped our tournament become the biggest and the best. This new agreement ‚Äì by far the largest television deal in poker history ‚Äì affirms our mutual commitment to growth and further establishes the World Series of Poker as the No. 1 brand in poker and as a leader on the sports and entertainment landscape.‚Äù
Viewers who want to purchase The World Series of Poker Live!, can order ESPN pay-per-view Online on ESPN.com (search PPV or Poker), at http://www.espnpayperview.com, or by contacting their pay-per-view provider.
The 2006 World Series of Poker on ESPN
ESPN will televise the 2006 World Series of Poker presented by Milwaukee‚Äôs Best Light starting July 18 at 8 and 9 p.m. ET. This year‚Äôs coverage will include 32 one-hour episodes of circuit championships, bracelet events and the popular Main Event. In addition, the network‚Äôs coverage will be aired on six continents via ESPN Pac-Rim, ESPN Japan, ESPN Atlantic, ESPN Israel, ESPN Dos and ESPN Latin.
World Series of Poker on ESPN
ESPN has televised the World Series of Poker eight times. The network began its poker coverage with the 1993 World Series of Poker. In 2003, the network produced seven one-hour episodes of the Main Event under the ESPN Original Entertainment banner and utilized ‚Äúhole cam‚Äù technology along with cutting-edge graphics, player features and commentators. That year, amateur Chris Moneymaker, an accountant from Tennessee, won the $2.5 million prize and shot to stardom. In 2004, the network expanded its coverage to 22 one-hour episodes. In 2005, 32 one-hour episodes were aired of the 2005 World Series of Poker which set records for the most money at stake for any poker tournament, with more than $103 million in total prize money awarded to contestants. The Main Event alone saw nearly 6,000 players vie for a $53 million prize pool; every player at the Final Table walked away a millionaire, and the ultimate winner – Joseph Hachem – took home a $7.5 million top prize.