Nets Betting on Poker Coverage


ESPN last Tuesday night recorded a 1.9 household rating for the
championship match of the World Series of Poker, taped last spring from
Binion’s Casino in Las Vegas.

Travel Channel, meanwhile, has averaged a 1.0 during the
third quarter with encore editions of two-hour blocks (9-11 p.m.) of the
World Poker Tour
Wednesday nights, scoring higher than the installments (a 0.85) when they began
premiering in late March.

The August 27 airing did a 1.3.

Why the poker push? Executives at both networks say 40 to 50 million
Americans try their hand at the game each year.

“We had done a poker show every year since
1993 and they had rated well, but they weren’t highly produced,” ESPN Original Entertainment senior coordinating producer
Michael Antinoro said.

“Rather than do a two-hour special, we decided to go with seven hours and let
viewers get a chance to know the players a bit” via 40-second