World Series of Poker (WSOP) Leaving ESPN for CBS Sports
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has found a new home on the airwaves!
The WSOP, which for decades has appeared on ESPN, has struck a multi-year rights agreement with CBS Sports, which will become their new domestic television partner for airing “The Main Event” and other “Bracelet Events.” This year's live WSOP will take place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino from September 30-November 23.
The deal is in effect for 2021 with 15 hours of Main Event coverage planned as well as 36 hours from 18 additional bracelet events. Coverage details will be announced in the coming months once the WSOP schedule becomes official. It’s expected that WSOP coverage will appear on other Viacom CBS platforms, including the subscription-based Paramount +, formerly known as CBS All Access.
Partnership Could Lead to "Increased Television Coverage"
While most fans know ESPN as the home of the WSOP on TV, CBS Sports was actually its original broadcast partner as the WSOP Main Event was featured on CBS Sports Spectacular back in the mid-1970s.
“CBS Sports has long been a pioneer in covering a broad range of championship sports,” said Ty Stewart, WSOP Executive Director. “We couldn’t be more excited to see increased television coverage of the WSOP in the coming years and benefit from their growing media platforms.”
Dan Weinberg, Executive Vice President of Programming, CBS Sports, added: “Following our past success with Poker Central, we are excited to expand our relationship with the highest-profile and richest event in competitive tournament Poker featuring the best players in the world. This deal fits perfectly in our strategy to combine best-in-class events with our CBS Sports brand.”
The deal comes nearly two years after PokerGO and CBS joined forces to live stream gold bracelet events from the 50th Annual WSOP. Fans might recall that some events streamed on PokerGO in 2019, while others aired on CBS All Access, CBS Sports Network, and CBS Sports Digital platforms. That year, Lon McEachern, Ali Nejad, and David Tuchman provided most of the color commentary.
There’s no word on what the latest deal might mean for the future of WSOP commentary, which was shaken up a little last year when Jamie Kerstetter filled in for an apparently COVID-stricken Norman Chad on episodes of the 2020 WSOP Main Event.