ESPN to Broadcast 2018 WSOP Main Event, One Drop
The World Series of Poker has released its live schedule of televised events for this summer’s WSOP in Las Vegas. In conjunction with long-time cable broadcast partner ESPN and production company Poker Central, television coverage of the 2018 WSOP at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Convention Center will focus on two big events in July: The $10,000 Main Event and the biannual “Big One for One Drop” charity-themed tourney.
Both the Main Event and the Big One for One Drop will take place in July, but due to the WSOP’s revamping this year of the latter part of its schedule, it’s the Main Event that comes first. The 2018 WSOP ME runs from July 2nd through July 14th, 2018, including multiple starting flights and days.
The Big One for One Drop, a far more exclusive gathering of poker’s most recognized names, features a $1,000,000 buy-in and will take place on July 16-17, 2018. The Big One for One Drop is the most prominent of a rotating series of events that also helps benefit the One Drop Foundation, the global clean-water initiative founded by Cirque du Soleil founder and poker enthusiast Guy Laliberte. Like the Main Event and the rest of the WSOP slate, the Big One tourney is a recognized WSOP bracelet event.
According to the WSOP, additional Main Event coverage not included within ESPN’s dedicated programming block will appear over at PokerGO, the online, subscription-based, poker-content service owned and operated by Poker Central. ESPN’s and PokerGO’s coverage will both include Main Event play, but will not overlap in content. “PokerGO will offer exclusive WSOP Main Event coverage that is not broadcast during ESPN windows,” wrote the WSOP’s Seth Palansky, “while coverage aired on ESPN will not air on PokerGO.
Palansky also noted that the full PokerGO WSOP streaming schedule will be announced at a later time. It’ll be year number two for the online content service, which is likely to offer a select lineup of final tables spanning much of June as well.
The ESPN coverage is at least equal or to or slightly expanded from the 2017 broadcast slate. It’s set to include at least 40 hours of “live” WSOP coverage, plus another 130 hours of originally produced episodes. Though billed as live, it actually includes a brief but necessary 30-minute broadcast delay to prevent the relaying of information back to the players while still in a specific hand. The coverage is part of the WSOP’s long-term dealer with ESPN, the current extension of which runs through 2020.
Here’s the published broadcast schedule for this summer’s 2018 WSOP Main Event and Big One for One Drop, which will receive air time on both ESPN and ESPN2:
Date Time Event
2-Jul 8:00 PM – 1:00 AM ET WSOP Main Event: Day 1A – ESPN2
3-Jul 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM ET WSOP Main Event: Day 1B – ESPN2
4-Jul 8:30 PM – 12:00 AM ET WSOP Main Event: Day 1C – ESPN2
5-Jul 10:00 PM – 12:00 AM ET WSOP Main Event: Day 2A/B – ESPN2
6-Jul 8:30 PM – 12:00 AM ET WSOP Main Event: Day 2C – ESPN2
7-Jul 6:00 PM – 10:30 PM ET WSOP Main Event: Day 3 – ESPN2
8-Jul 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM ET WSOP Main Event: Day 4 – ESPN
9-Jul 10:00 PM – 2:00 AM ET WSOP Main Event: Day 5 – ESPN2
10-Jul 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM ET WSOP Main Event: Day 6 – ESPN
11-Jul 12:30 AM – 2:00 AM ET WSOP Main Event: Day 7 – ESPN2 ***Play to final table
12-Jul 9:00 PM – END ET WSOP Main Event: Day 8 – ESPN *** Nine to six players
13-Jul 9:00 PM – END ET WSOP Main Event: Day 9 – ESPN***Six to three players
14-Jul 9:00 PM – END ET WSOP Main Event: Day 10 – ESPN***Three players to winner
July 16 (July 17) 12:00 AM – 2:00 AM ET WSOP Big One for One Drop: ESPN2 (Live)
17-Jul 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM ET WSOP Big One for One Drop: ESPN2 (Tape replay)
17-Jul 9:00 PM – END ET WSOP Big One for One Drop: ESPN2 (Live)
21-Jul 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM ET WSOP Big One for One Drop: ESPN2 (Tape replay)
— schedule courtesy WSOP.com
“Last year, both ESPN viewership and PokerGO subscription numbers were very strong throughout the WSOP Main Event,” said JR McCabe, chief digital officer of Poker Central. “This year, we’re doubling down on live coverage of the World Series of Poker by adding the Big One for One Drop and bringing even more live poker to fans worldwide.”
“ESPN has a long-running relationship with the World Series of Poker, and we are always looking for ways to bring viewers the most preeminent coverage,” said Doug White, ESPN senior director, Programming & Acquisitions. “By doubling down on our broadcast and digital platform coverage, we’re going to bring fans and viewers even closer to the sport’s biggest events from all aspects and angles.”
“We’re ecstatic that ESPN and Poker Central continue to raise the bar and deliver more live poker content to audiences across the globe,” said Ty Stewart, executive director, World Series of Poker. “Fans today demand immediacy and wall-to-wall coverage and this year’s offering delivers on that in spades.”