Fox Sports Net is upping the ante in the poker-programming craze.
Next month, FSN will televise a four-hour final virtually live tournament with its coverage of The American Poker Championship Live from the Turning Stone Resort and Casino July 14.
FSN will present the event, culminating the three-day competition at the Oneida Indian Nation’s Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, N.Y., at 6 p.m. on a five-minute delay to viewers in the Eastern time zone. Coverage will center on six finalists playing for $1 million
In addition to the virtually live telecast, FSN officials said the service will unveil a new computer system that interfaces with the network’s graphics generators, making instantaneous on-screen card identification possible.
The American Poker Championship Live should get wide distribution from FSN’s various owned-and-operated networks and affiliates: July 14 is an open date on the Major League Baseball schedule following the All-Star Game the night before.
Since televising Showdown at the Sands last Thanksgiving, FSN has been raising the stakes in its poker coverage, which encompassed Late Night Poker (from England) from January through the spring. It will continue to Championship Poker at the Plaza through Aug. 8.
FSN spokesman Tom Chiappetta saidthe programmer is also eyeing more poker fare that would run into the fall.
Chiappetta said poker has been producing solid ratings for FSN. “Viewers are always interested in poker; it encores well. We’re taking the next step with live coverage, or as close as you can get to it,” he added.
Travel Channel, ESPN and Bravo have all been airing various poker tournaments and ancillary programming.
Similarly, GSN, the former Game Show Network, is also tapping America’s gambling fascination with GSN Presents The World Series of Blackjack.