WSOP Leaves ESPN for New TV Home at CBS Sports

The WSOP have left their long-time home on ESPN for pastures new, or rather pastures very old, signing a deal with its very first broadcast partner, CBS Sports.

By:  Andrew Burnett

The “multi-year rights” agreement will see CBS Sports become the new WSOP television partner for the Main Event and select other bracelet events beginning this year

Promising 15 hours of ‘Main Event’ coverage and 36 hours of 18 additional ‘Gold Bracelet’ events this year", the new partnership will also see “coverage across other Viacom CBS platforms, including Paramount+.

Announcing the deal, WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart stated: “CBS Sports has long been a pioneer in covering a broad range of championship sports. We couldn’t be more excited to see increased television coverage of the WSOP in the coming years and benefit from their growing media platforms.”

It marks a return to the WSOP’s TV roots, CBS Sports responsible for the first poker broadcast in the U.S. with the WSOP Main Event featuring on its CBS SPORTS SPECTACULAR program throughout the mid-1970s.

CBS Sports’ Executive Vice President of Programming, Dan Weinberg, said of the new partnership: “This deal fits perfectly in our strategy to combine best-in-class events with our CBS Sports brand.”

CBS Sports teamed up with industry giants PokerGO in 2018 for the 50th Anniversary WSOP, and Weinberg added: “Following our past success with Poker Central, we are excited to expand our relationship with the highest-profile and richest event in competitive tournament Poker featuring the best players in the world.”

Poker fans were quick to ask some important questions regarding the new broadcast plans:

  • “Will CBS cover the main event or any of the events live w short delay like ESPN did or is the whole thing going to be a reality TV edit?”
  • “How does this impact it being shown in UK? Currently it gets shown ESPN/BT Sport.”
  • “How did @espn drop the ball on this?”
  • “Will @NormanChad and @lonmceachern still be the commentators for the main event?”

That final question is one many will be asking, with Norman Chad missing from the 2020 coverage due to health concerns after a bout of Covid-19.

Jamie Kerstetter took his place, commentating on four episodes covering the Main Event, that saw Argentina’s Damian Salas lift the $2.5million top prize. 

The WSOP recently released their plans to hold both online and live versions of the annual festival, the latter hoping to run at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino from September 30th to November 23rd.


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