Phil Ivey Does Not Equal Ratings for ESPN
The ratings are in for the Main Event final table. Ratings for the final over 2008 increased by....oh wait....they DIDN'T increase. The ratings for the final table actually dropped by 0.1, or approximately 100,000 households.
If Phil Ivey was not at this year's final table, my response may have been, "I told you so!" However, I expected ratings to increase. The fact that they did not should be very telling to everyone.
The November Nine concept I think was nice as a novelty, but other than those that are actually participating, I think the novelty has quickly worn off. In honesty, I think that ratings would have dropped by around 40% if Ivey was not at the final table. I think that the viewers that tuned in to watch Ivey just served to replace those that saw last year's November Nine and went, "Same old Shit, just a 3 month wait."
Also, so many people tuned into the audio broadcast the day before to listen to the event. Between that and the live updates provided by PokerNews and other sites, many people knew Ivey was gone in 7th, so no reason to watch.
The fact that the ratings dropped ever so slightly, even with Phil Ivey on board, makes me wonder whether ESPN will continue this concept. There are many that sit on the fence on both sides, but in the end, the players prefer to play it out.
At best, I think this concept gets one more year. If it does, I think that next year will tell the tale about whether the concept is popular or a fad that faded quickly. I give the concept one more year at most unless something amazing happens.