The World Poker Tour announced their third quarter financial results on November 8th for the three month period that ended on October 2nd, 2005. While the results for the time frame were a decrease of $900,000 from the same period of 2004, there were several reasons for that and even more reason to see that the future for World Poker Tour Enterprises looks particularly pleasant.
The losses for the quarter were particularly evident in the decrease in World Poker Tour shows finished up and ready for domestic distribution. In 2004, WPTE had prepared and delivered six episodes of the season, while they have only finished one of the Season Four events thus far. This will improve in the first and second quarters of 2006, when WPTE expects to produce and deliver the majority of the Season Four programming.
Something that has been very impressive for the company has been their marketing and licensing arrangements and deals. Product licensing increased four times above what it was in 2004 and is looking particularly good for the fourth quarter holiday season. What is probably the most important sign that WPTE is in good shape is that the company has no debt and is continuing in its drive to open its product licensing and online poker room even further.
"The third quarter represented continued progress for the World Poker Tour brand," said Steve Lipscomb, President and CEO of WPT Enterprises. "We began to deliver Season Four of our highly successful television show and we saw very strong product licensing revenues. Additionally we further expanded international distribution of our show and commenced operations of our online gaming business. As we look ahead to 2006, we are confident in our ability to continue to execute our strategic plan successfully."
One thing that has been a little bit of a downside (as well as a liability in the profit line of WPTE) is the inability to find a domestic distributor for the Professional Poker Tour. The PPT has been, and until it does find that domestic distributor, something that cannot bring in revenue for the company. While WPTE continues in its negotiations for U. S. rights to the PPT, it is also beginning to look overseas as well.
While also kicking up the pressure on the Travel Channel in their ongoing PPT dispute, WPTE is beginning to look at the possibility of debuting the PPT in the international arena before America. "The intent has always been to syndicate the PPT internationally as soon as possible to help drive people in overseas markets to our international online gaming business," said Lipscomb. "Legal disputes over the domestic distribution of the PPT have made an international premiere likely for the show."
In September, it seems there was a three year agreement between WPTE and ESPN to begin airing the PPT episodes. When the Travel Channel was offered the chance to meet the contract to retain the broadcast rights to the PPT, the Travel Channel seems to have made an end run around the negotiations and insisted that ESPN had no rights to the broadcasts, to the point of sending communication to ESPN regarding this and resulting in ESPN pulling back their offer. The case continues to be a contentious spot between WPTE and the Travel Channel and probably will not be resolved anytime soon. Thus, WPTE is looking to the international airwaves as the ground for the PPT to play on for now.
Even with the continued scrap over the PPT, things for the WPT have to look pretty good. Anywhere you look, there are products that have the WPT logo on it and those will continue to generate a good deal of income for the company. With the majority of the Season Four programming being completed in early 2006, the next year has to look good for World Poker Tour Enterprises and the WPT!
Ed note: Vince Van Patten of the World Poker Tour plays at Hollywood Poker