ESPN / WSOP Live Coverage Ratings Are in

by , Jul 25, 2011 | 2:10 pm

The numbers for Live-minus-30 coverage of the WSOP on ESPN are in. About a half million viewers on ESPN 2, 23 million minutes of click-friendly eyeball time on ESPN 3, and a “cute” little 646,00 viewers for two hours during prime time on ESPN 1.

Clearly poker is no women’s soccer, but still … those returns seem high enough that ESPN will probably do it again — though nothing in the ESPN press release assures as much — and low enough that next year ESPN and the WSOP will easily be able to report massive growth in whatever numbers prove most beneficial for them to deliver.

It’s hard to determine a success with a new type of coverage … but these numbers do set a certain bar, and at a minimum dohelp quantify the size of the true-poker-geek market. And thus, with results of the Pokerati love-it-or-hate-it poll, combined with the television numbers, I’m relatively convinced that if ESPN doesn’t expand their “live” poker coverage in the future … somebody else will.

(It really is all in the announcing.)

Read below for the official Nielsen data presented by Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, er … I mean:

ESPN’s Live WSOP Main Event Coverage Sees Ratings and Viewership Gains in Dayparts

Ratings and viewership for ESPN’s first-ever daily live coverage of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event from July 14-19 was up double digits over every daypart on ESPN2 compared to July 2010, according to Nielsen. The 10 telecasts on ESPN2 averaged a 0.4 household coverage rating, 351,000 households and 415,000 viewers.

The biggest daypart gains were made during the early morning (1-5 a.m. ET) on ESPN2 when live WSOP coverage increased daypart average ratings by 136 percent and household impressions 125 percent.

In prime time, ESPN2 averaged a 0.4 rating, 401,000 households and 504,000 viewers, while the one prime time telecast on ESPN (July 19) delivered a 0.5 rating, 543,000 households and 646,000 viewers. Late night and early morning windows on ESPN2 delivered a 0.3 household coverage rating over six telecasts.

For the month to date, the WSOP delivered over 23 million total minutes consumed for ESPN3.com, a 106 percent increase on an average event to event basis compared to the same month last year.

WSOP Weekly Shows Start Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
ESPN’s coverage of the World Series of Poker presented by Jack Link’s Beef Jerky continues Tuesday, July 26, with WSOP “Grudge Matches” (8 p.m., ESPN), the first of ESPN’s weekly Tuesday night shows leading up to the WSOP Main Event final table on November 8. The telecast will relive two of the most famous heads-up duels in the WSOP’s 42-year history when Johnny Chan faces Phil Hellmuth in a rematch of 1989 WSOP in a one match format, and Sammy Farha plays Chris Moneymaker in a rematch of the 2003 event in a best-of-three format. The matchups were played at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on June 2. Co-hosts Lon McEachern and Norman Chad will be joined by sideline reporter Kara Scott in the two-hour special which will include interviews with the players and footage from the original matchups.

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5 Comments to “ESPN / WSOP Live Coverage Ratings Are in”


  1. Scott Diamond
    says:

    Even I a Poker TV Junkie didn’t know about the “LIVE” coverage until a few days before it actually came on. I cannot remeber seeing any advertising on ESPN about it being a 30 minute delay. Correct me if I am wrong though Da.

    With this happening I think those numbers are great and if done next year ESPN will triple them.


  2. Poker Kentucky
    says:

    Other than a few press releases ESPN and Harrahs did not advertise the coverage. In a backhanded way this shows the “word of mouth” power of poker.


  3. Dan Michalski
    says:

    Would that be good or bad if you happened to be one of the people paid to help inform viewers of what they could be watching?


  4. Oops7
    says:

    Wasn’t thrilled with the almost live coverage.  I won’t be watching any reruns of that.  Hope they plan to back that up with the traditional after the fact, cards exposed, shows. 


  5. George
    says:

    I liked the coverage better then the traditional. You actually saw what real poker was like, and not just the biggest “action” hands. It was especially good when Esfadiary was the commentator.