The WSOP’s new in-house media team will offer live final table video streaming of more than 60 events, Seth Palansky, Senior VP of Corporate Communications at Caesars Interactive Entertainment, said this week.
Speaking to PokerFuse.com, Palansky outlined an ambitious media operation for the 2015 series, which marks the first time the WSOP has provided its own live coverage.
“We will incorporate video into our offerings, both with video snippets each day, plus extensive live streaming of final tables which will once again feature commentary by David Tuchman,” he said.
“We plan to do 31 live streams with Tuchman over the first 35 days of WSOP. We also expect to cover another 30 events on the secondary stream, with no commentary/graphics.”
Meanwhile, a team of 35 bloggers, headed up by poker writer Rob Kirschen, will provide live updates, and regular chip counts are planned for all events, says Palansky. “Obviously, we expect to ramp up the coverage once events are in the money, when the pots tend to mean more. We are encouraging players to Tweet their own chip counts and use event numbers as hashtags, and we’ll effort to include those in our feeds on WSOP.com.”
Old Operation Unsustainable
Live updates were, for the best part of a decade, provided by PokerNews, which announced earlier this year that it could no longer afford to continue due to the lack of a third-party sponsor.
The WSOP charges outlets for the privilege of being the official news agency with exclusive rights to provide live updates, and in previous years PokerStars had provided PokerNews with the sponsorship dollars to sustain the operation. But when Caesars Interactive launched WSOP.com as an online poker site, becoming a competitor to PokerStars, a conflict of interest arose and the online poker giant pulled the plug.
“There was one day we got paid a significant amount by a third party to provide live reporting and split the traffic,” Palansky explained last month. “Those days are gone. PokerNews asked for a nearly 200 percent increase [traffic] this year to do the job and we simply can’t justify that expense in a traffic-sharing arrangement.”
Despite this, many of the reporters working at the Series this year will be familiar faces; Palansky says the WSOP has already hired a number of bloggers who have provided content from previous years. “We don’t plan to reinvent the wheel here,” he adds.
He is also anxious to emphasize that the new reporting regime will not become a “house organ propaganda machine” for the WSOP. “I used to work at the NFL and helped found the NFL Network,” he says. “Everyone was worried NFLNetwork would be a mouthpiece for the league. But it isn’t. They covered Ray Rice stuff, concussions, Commissioner, etc. In order to be credible, you have to cover the good, bad and ugly. We will not put a mouthpiece on any of our staff.”