Epic Poker League Announces TV Distribution Deal

The Epic Poker has eyed a deal with CBS for some time now...

The Epic Poker League today officially announced its broadcast partner.

The up-start league will air 20 original hours of programming on CBS and the newly rebranded Velocity (formerly Discovery) channel.

According to Howard Stutz in the LVRJ, the 20 hours will be split to seven on CBS, and 13 hours on Velocity (available in approximately 40M households).

The Wall Street Journal reports that the CBS deal is a time buy and the Velocity deal is a barter. Copy & Paste (via BLUFF):

“…[Epic] is paying CBS to air the show on weekends as part of a “time buy,” a deal similar to an infomercial in which the company pays the network to air the show” and that episodes that air on Velocity “will air as a “promotional barter,” in which the poker company supplies the show without payment from the channel.”

Epic also officially announced two items which we broke in May and last week, respectively, in that David Neal will creatively lead the broadcasts and 441 Productions will manage, shoot and edit the shows.

Long-time sports/entertainment reporter Pat O’Brien will host the shows and Ali Nejad will come on board as an analyst.

In essence, the Epic broadcasts are of a similar model to NBC’s National Heads-Up Poker Championship, but with purchased air-time and less distribution.

So it’s a big win for Epic just to get on TV given how some broadcasters are hesitant to touch the game right now. But it’s also a hit that the CBS portion is a straight time buy and that the lion’s share of hours will be on a channel–albeit with growth potential–that is only available in 40M HH’s. Does that move the needle enough for pros to pony up 20-grand?

We think you know the answer to that.

Read the BLUFF write-up in full here. Read the LVRJ write-up here.


2 Responses

  1. Guest

    July 28, 2011 11:11 am, Reply

    Small correction – Velocity is the rebranded HD Theater channel, owned by Discovery – not a rebrand of the Discovery Channel.

  2. James Elliott

    July 29, 2011 11:48 pm, Reply

    I am not fully up on the details of the Epic Poker League, but one question comes to mind – where is the money coming from?  This league will be buying air time on CBS, and won’t be getting anything from Velocity for providing the program.  I believe I read that they will not be charging rake for the tournaments?  If so, where is their operating funds coming from?  I assume it’s supposed to come from sponsors, but are there any so far?

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