Towards the late 90’s and early 2000, there were a number of poker shows on TV and had a reasonable audience that slowly dwindled. However, now that a number of states in the nation are pushing for the legalization of online poker, a number of television networks are confident that poker TV will once again grab a significant market share.
As of now, the current World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournament which ends on the 6th of July, will be broadcast by ESPN from the 23rd of July and will have a total of 26 segments. CBS’s Showtime telecast a documentary on the 5th of June that was called “All In – The Poker Movie” which educates viewers of how poker entered into the mainstream market.
TV Networks are confident that it is just a matter of time before online poker gets official status in the nation and are already discussing strategy of how to broadcast and market the poker industry. A number of senior TV executives, Hollywood consultants and gaming executives have been having meetings to decide on the type of programming that can be broadcast. Some of the shows being discussed include documentaries, reality shows, online gaming companies and female tournament celebrities.
In a statement, Jamie Horowitz, vice president original programming and production for Walt Disney’s ESPN said
Online poker will introduce a lot of new people to the game and I think that will bring another big wave to television.
However, there are a few voices from the industry that say it is better to take things slow because as of now, only Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have legalized online gambling. It is too soon to predict, how many other states would follow and more importantly how long it will take for these laws to be passed. The networks would not want a repeat of the late 90’s when poker shows were launched but quickly folded.
Joe Versaci, Ultimate Gaming’s chief marketing officer said
We are speaking with NBC and Fox and several other networks to see what the appetite is for the category over the next 24 months. What happens in California in late 2014 and 2105 will be key, not only because it’s the epicentre of where TV is produced, but because it’s like a country itself and can support a large poker market.
However, based on reports there is a large market for poker in the United States and TV networks will want to have their plans and shows ready for broadcasting in order to make an impression on the market and create a loyal following.