SBD/April 20, 2011/Media

ESPN, FSN Will Air Some Poker This Year Despite Crackdown On Online Sites

ESPN will air WSOP in July, but not North American Poker Tour episodes
The "World Series of Poker" on ESPN and "World Poker Tour" on FSN "will air as scheduled following the indictments of gambling websites that spent almost $27 million on TV ads last year," according to Andy Fixmer of BLOOMBERG NEWS. ESPN Senior VP/Corporate Communications Chris LaPlaca yesterday in an e-mail confirmed that ESPN "will carry the 'World Series of Poker' in July." However, the network "won't air the 10 hours" of new episodes of the "North American Poker Tour Presented by PokerStars.net," which had been scheduled to air Monday night but was "pre-empted." While FSN will continue to air "World Poker Tour" coverage, Fox Sports Senior VP/Media Relations Lou D'Ermilio said that the net "has pulled PokerStars.net ads" from broadcasts. D'Ermilio: "There is no direct sponsorship connection between the indicted websites and 'World Poker Tour.' But PokerStars had purchased advertising time, which has been pulled as a result of the indictments. At present we have no plans to change policy as it relates to promotional clothing players choose to wear." Kantar Media noted that FullTiltPoker.net and PokerStars.net, "two sites charged with fraud and money-laundering by the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, spent $26.8 million in 2010 on TV advertising." PokerStars "spent another $8.3 million on Web and magazine ads" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 4/19). USA TODAY's Gary Mihoces notes Full Tilt Poker "has been a major sponsor in mixed martial arts." The company was "about to return" to the UFC, but Zuffa LLC spokesperson Caren Bell in an e-mail confirmed that the deal "has been shelved" (USA TODAY, 4/20).
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