Goodbye Nov. 9: WSOP Main Event Returns to July Finish
First, it announced a new partnership with Poker Central and ESPN that will expand its coverage of the Main Event.
Next, it announced that the November 9 concept has been scrapped and that the Main Event final table will once again play out in July.
Poker Central and ESPN Reach Agreement to Live Broadcast Main Event
The poker world was buzzing on Monday as news broke about the new media partnership between the World Series of Poker and both Poker Central and ESPN.
ESPN will continue covering the World Series of Poker Main Event but this year marks a dramatic shift for the coverage. ESPN will start live broadcasting the WSOP Main Event starting on July 8 and will do so daily through the final table.
The new deal will see this new format continue through 2020. In addition ESPN will create an additional 90 hours of edited programming, meaning there will be 130 hours of WSOP programming annually.
Outside of the live broadcasts Poker Central will live stream coverage of the Main Event and will broadcast any programming not aired on ESPN.
November Nine Eliminated - Final Table Plays Out in July
During the press release disclosing the new media format, we also learned that the November 9 concept has been officially scrapped.
Instead, the final table of the Main Event will play out in July. The final table will play out over a three-day period starting on July 20.
The final table will play down to six players on the 20th and down to three on the 21st. Finally, the final three will return on July 22 and play to the winner.
Over the last couple of years, there has been increased calls for a revamping of the final table format with many suggested a return to a July final table.
With the Main Event now live broadcast (on a 30-minute delay), officials are hoping for a significant ratings spike.
Pre-packaged poker content has declined in popularity in previous years thanks in part to live streaming so it is nice to see the WSOP take some initiative and tap into a growing market.