ESPN Drops Poker Programming
It looks as though the strike against online poker is now beginning to affect professional televised poker as well. According to Bloomberg, the unchallenged American sports authority ESPN is going to remove poker content from its networks.
The network, based in Bristol, Connecticut, said this to Bloomberg in an email:
“We are aware of the indictment only through what has been announced publicly. For the immediate future, we are making efforts to remove related advertising and programming pending further review.”
Of course this announcement comes on the heels of “Poker’s Black Friday.” Eleven executives were indicted for fraud and violation of internet anti-gambling laws and 76 bank accounts associated with PokerStars, Absolute Poker and Full Tilt Pokerwere frozen. The FBI also seized five different .com domains associated with the companies.
The extent of the content scheduled to be pulled by ESPN is unclear. Removing advertising is an obvious move, as much of it is related to online poker sites. What poker programming will stay and what will go is of great concern to poker fans, as the popular World Series of Poker is set to air on the network this summer.
ESPN.com’s poker editor Andrew Feldman has tweeted that WSOP events will not be removed, only North American Poker Tour (NAPT) events. NAPT is a fledgling professional tour sponsored by PokerStars.
Many professional players show up to the WSOP basically dressed as walking billboards for online poker sites. I wonder how many of them will be dressed this year. Will ESPN have any sort of limit to this type of advertising?
What do you think of ESPN’s move? Let us know.