Deal or No Deal? GSN Says No Deal!

by , Jun 9, 2008 | 9:42 am

GSN let the renewal option for the World Poker Tour’s 7th season lapse on June 7th. There is currently no deal in place, though GSN said it’s still open for discussion, for shows that are scheduled to begin taping with the Bellagio Cup next month.

This doesn’t look good.

See the shareholder notice below:

WPT Enterprises Opens Discussions for Season VII Television Broadcast Rights

GSN Renewal Option Lapsed on June 7

LOS ANGELES, Jun 09, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — WPT Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: WPTE) announced today that GSN’s option for exclusive broadcast of the entire World Poker Tour(R) (WPT) seventh season expired on Saturday.

GSN CEO David Goldhill said, “The World Poker Tour has been a great partner and the show continues to perform strongly on our network. We are continuing discussions with WPTE regarding how we may be able to work together – including perhaps broadcasting parts of Season VII.”

WPTE is currently in discussions with several major networks to broadcast programming from its landmark seventh season, which kicks off July 11 at the prestigious Bellagio in Las Vegas and runs through April 2009.

“We have enjoyed watching the show and our numbers grow on GSN. Our hope is that we can find ways to collaborate with the network long into the future,” said Steve Lipscomb, WPT Founder, President and CEO. “This may allow us the first opportunity to explore diversifying content on multiple networks like most sports leagues. We have already begun those discussions and look forward to making another season of the best and most widely distributed poker programming in the world to our dedicated viewers and fans.”

New Season VI episodes will continue to broadcast Monday nights at 9pm ET/PT on GSN through late August. Encore episodes will continue to broadcast on the network for up to four years. Episodes of seasons II through V currently air on the Travel Channel.

10 Comments to “Deal or No Deal? GSN Says No Deal!”

  1. DanM

    ***including perhaps broadcasting parts of Season VII***

    perhaps? parts? like what parts … only the all-in hands? to me this sounds like GSN still doesn’t like the way the numbers are adding up and are saying, “go ahead, shop it around, and come back to us if you can find a better deal.”

  2. olivert

    Can you say “time buy”?

    I know you can.

  3. DanM

    but that would require the WPT to actually have cash on hand.

  4. Kevin Mathers

    Possible theory from Oliver elsewhere: FTP puts up the money, like they have in various FSN projects.

  5. California Jen

    It seems to me that GSN has said, “No thanks,” but the WPT asked them not to deny the deal outright so WPT has some bargaining power with other networks.

    And time buys are not an option because the WPT barely has enough money to produce the shows, especially without funding from a network, much less to buy their own time slots.

    Unfortunately, I think this is bye-bye for the WPT.

  6. California Jen

    Kevin, I see what you’re saying, but the WPT is not willing to deal in any way with online sites that do business in the U.S. Lipscomb has long said that his publicly-owned company won’t put itself in jeopardy by doing anything with online poker sites that accept U.S. customers.

    That is not an option for them, even in a dark hour.

  7. DanM

    Jen, I think you’re wrong on this. I have seen countless ads for full tilt (and i think even Ultimate Bet) airing during the World Poker Tour. I suppose that’s GSN taking the money, but still … it wouldn’t be that hard to have FTP pay someone else for the time.

    I guess that raises a question of how logoed up it would become, but didn’t the WPT make changes in that department already earlier this year?

    And you know, considering how low WPTE’s stock price is right now, maybe they Lipscomb/Berman Inc. should consider buying back the company and taking it private again.

    Or selling the whole operation to Full Tilt.

  8. California Jen

    Definitely GSN & the Travel Channel that sold ads to those companies – not the WPT. I promise you that the WPT dealing with companies like FTP is not an option under any circumstance.

    Never thought about Lipscomb/Berman buying back the company. That’s an option, I guess.

    I think you’re right that they’re entertaining buyers now. It seems like their only way out of this mess.

  9. DanM

    ***I promise you that the WPT dealing with companies like FTP is not an option under any circumstance.***

    Well that might explain why the WPT isn’t being included in discussions about future seasons of HSP and PAD.

  10. olivert


    “Time buys” can be structured and disguised as “rights fee” TV agreements.

    One possible way:

    1. The network pays WPTE a symbolic “rights fee” of “$1” for the U.S. TV “rights” to a WPT Season 7 tournament

    2. The network then sells a “presenting” sponsorship to Pocket Kings Consulting of Ireland, which does marketing work for non-gambling, play-for-free website

    Effectively, would have “bought” the WPT Telecast, but WPTE would NOT have officially done any business deals with