The World Series of Poker has decided to remove the November Nine format from the Main Event and now name the champion during the summer months. For the first time in almost a decade, a Main Event winner will be decided in July.
For the last nine years, the Main Event of the World Series of Poker has seen the main event stop once the final table was decided and the nine players that remain would return in November to see who the champion would be. This was done so the coverage by ESPN could catch up to the action and fans would be able to learn more about the remaining players.
For this year, the Main Event will be covered live, but with a delay of 30 mins based on gaming regulations starting with Day 1 of the tournament. ESPN as well as Poker Central will broadcast the event footage and the final table will start back up just one day after the final nine are determined. This will allow a day for the final table preview show to air so that fans can become familiar with the remaining players.
The final nine then hit the felt, competing over a three day time frame, from July 20th to the 22nd. As far as coverage is concerned, Poker Central and ESPN have struck a new deal for a four year time frame. With the new deal, ESPN will be broadcasting 40 hours of estimated coverage of the main event, on delay. Any coverage that does not air on ESPN will be streamed by Poker Central exclusively.
Director of Programming and Acquisitions for ESPN, Dan Ochs, stated that the WSOP has been a longstanding staple in programming for ESPN. The company is pleased to have reached an agreement to continue to have the ability to carry the most prominent event in sports and modernize coverage with the new same day live coverage in July each year.
A press release was provided by Poker Central with more information to be found here.