NBC Expands Poker Central Programming Partnership
Poker tournaments like the Super High Roller Bowl, U.S. Poker Open, and Poker Masters are about to be a lot more visible. NBC Sports Group decided to expand and extend their programming partnership with Poker Central, the brand that covers the above-mentioned tournaments, in a deal that runs through 2020.
The deal will see Poker Central shows and tournament coverage air on NBCSN’s linear and digital platforms, which includes the NBC Sports app and the group’s live streaming channels. The announcement came after the network’s success in broadcasting the 2017 Super High Roller bowl and 2017 Poker Masters last year.
NBC Sports Group vice president of programming, Gary Quinn, said viewers enjoy “the extremely competitive nature” of the poker tournaments NBC has broadcast over the past year. The success led the network to broaden their range of tournaments and extend the programming contract.
High-stakes poker combined with celebrity appearances is what NBC wants. Last year’s Super High Roller Bowl was a massive success, as poker fans tuned in to see pro players put $300,000 on the line – the largest tournament buy-in of the year. An appearance by comedian Kevin Hart didn’t hurt ratings either.
The tournament sold out in less than a day, prompting organizers to extend the field to 56 players. Christoph Vogelsang emerged the winner, taking home $6 million of the $16.8 million prize pool.
The next high stakes poker series set to air on the network this year is the U.S. Poker Open, which includes two $10,000 buy-in events; three $25,000 buy-in tournaments, and a $50,000 championship Main Event.