Despite Ivey’s presence ESPN’s 2009 World Series of Poker rat
This could well be the biggest surprise of the WSOP: ESPN’ ratings for the 2009 WSOP final table suffered a .1% drop-off from 2008. Garnering a 1.8% share, the coverage still pulled in 2.1 million viewers, but the poker industry was expecting a boon from a final table that included Phil Ivey and Cardplayer Magazine editor Jeff Shulman.
The ratings drop has likely brought an end to the 3-month layoff from when the final table is decided to when it is played. If ESPN and Harrah’s were unable to market the 2009 final table, it’s unlikely three months, or three years would be a sufficient amount of time to create a buzz. It would appear they are better off capitalizing on the moment when the WSOP is at its peak.
ESPN can still televise the Main Event all the way to the final table virtually live –simply by doing the editing work they did for the final table—and could simply broadcast the preliminary events after the Main Event: Something most poker fans wouldn’t bat an eyelash at. As a weekly telecast the coverage doesn’t need to build to a crescendo.
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