[toc]The World Series of Poker will no longer have a four-month break in the Main Event. Instead, the final table plays out in July.
Poker Central acquired the global television and digital media rights to the WSOP. Part of the agreement included partnering with ESPN to provide same-day coverage of the Main Event.
Ty Stewart, executive director of the WSOP, has high hopes for the partnership:
“ESPN has been our home since 2002, and we’re delighted to extend the relationship into the next decade. Having every day live coverage of the WSOP Main Event is truly a huge commitment on behalf of ESPN and Poker Central, and we look forward to delivering to our faithful audience wall-to-wall action from the outset for the very first time.”
ESPN will broadcast 40 hours of live coverage with a 30-minute delay, beginning with Day 1A of the tournament.
Instead of having a November Nine, the tournament’s final table will play out on July 22. As per the November Nine format, the final table will play out over three days in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Livestreams killed the November Nine?
Since the November Nine concept began, the quality of poker livestreaming online increased substantially. This means that the traditional television broadcasts are becoming obsolete, as poker fans can easily access high-quality streams online.
It was not long ago that it would take months to create the World Series of Poker ESPN broadcasts. However, today poker fans can regularly tune in to high-quality livestreams of major tournaments, including the WSOP.
Poker Central, who this year are taking over the broadcasting of the WSOP, produces particularly well-received livestreams of many high-stakes cash games and tournaments.
History of the WSOP November Nine
The WSOP first intorduced the November Nine concept in 2008. It was an attempt to increase media coverage and fan hype of the multi-million-dollar final table of the WSOP Main Event.
This resulted in several changes to the player experience. Many players sought extensive coaching during this break. They also often played other tournaments with much success between reaching the final table and playing it out. Additionally, it allowed the finalists to assemble an audience of family, friends and fans to fill the Penn and Teller Theatre for a more sports-like experience.
However, the crackdown on online poker in the US in 2011 and a general decline in the popularity of the game. With that in mind, the media coverage and fan interest was not bolstered by the November Nine concept in a way that many hoped.