Tuesday, September 15, 2009

WSOP on ESPN Ratings Reach Highest Levels of 2009, by Dan Cypra - Poker News Daily - 14th September 2009

With Day 3 of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event set to kick off on Tuesday night on ESPN, network officials have announced that ratings for the September 8th broadcast were the highest of the 2009 season.

The preview for next week’s WSOP Main Event on ESPN broadcast features 11-time bracelet winner and 1989 Main Event champion Phil Hellmuth proclaiming, “Turbulence is coming.” However, it’s been smooth sailing so far for ESPN during the 2009 installment of the world’s most prestigious tournament series. The 8:00pm ET hour of last week’s telecast scored a 0.97 rating, while the second hour came in at 1.13. So far, the network is 11% ahead of last year’s resoundingly successful broadcast.

Doug White, ESPN’s Senior Director of Programming and Acquisitions, told Poker News Daily, “We’re all very pleased with the ratings thus far. We try not to get too high or low on ratings, but it’s nice when things are moving in a positive direction, so we’re extremely pleased with it.” White was instrumental in keeping the WSOP on ESPN until at least April of 2018 under an extension inked one month ago.

The September 8th broadcast logged a 0.93 rating during the first hour and 0.73 rating during the second hour among males age 18 to 34. The telecast turned in a 0.88 average rating among males age 18 to 49 and 1.03 for males age 25 to 54. ESPN’s broadcast on September 8th netted 954,000 household impressions during the first hour and 1.11 million during the second hour.

ESPN’s WSOP ratings have trended upwards in recent weeks and the network will broadcast its 15th hour-long installment on Tuesday night at 8:00pm ET. On the rise in the ratings, White speculated, “I’d like to think it’s because the quality of our shows are great. Our talent has been tremendous and the production quality has been excellent.” Lon McEachern and Norman Chad once again provide commentary for two hours each week, with Chad recently falling to Full Tilt Poker pro Howard Lederer in a chess match during the popular segment “The Nuts.”

Next week’s Day 3 coverage teases the presence of Hellmuth, Jeffrey Lisandro, Jennifer Harman, Phil Ivey, Phil Laak, Humberto Brenes, Joe Hachem, Dennis Phillips, and Andy Black. In it, McEachern dramatically narrates, “With the field now united, it means our next Main Event champion is in the building. Amongst the players still in the hunt are some of the biggest names in the game, including one man who is the clear favorite to become Player of the Year.” McEachern alludes to Lisandro, who took home three bracelets in the preliminary tournaments leading up to the $10,000 buy-in Main Event for nearly $750,000 total.

The 2009 WSOP Main Event final table features an assortment of characters, including fan favorite Phil Ivey and CardPlayer Editor Jeff Shulman, who has threatened to throw away the Main Event bracelet should he win. On Shulman and Ivey’s presence at the final table, White commented, “I don’t know if it sways our audience positively or negatively, but it brings about discussion. People are talking about it and that’s a good thing. It means the final table is on people’s minds. It’s a fantastic opportunity for players to showcase their personalities and skills on the biggest stage in poker.”

Here is a look at the remaining first-run episodes of the 2009 WSOP Main Event on ESPN. Replays also hit airwaves throughout the week on ESPN’s family of stations, so check local listings for more information. All times are Eastern:

September 15th to September 29th: 8:00pm to 10:00pm
October 6th to November 3rd: 9:00pm to 11:00pm
November 10th: 9:00pm to 11:30pm: WSOP Main Event Final Table. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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