Ratings Tank for ESPN’s WSOP Main Event Finale

Staff : November 11th, 2010


While attendance numbers for the WSOP itself saw a climb in 2010, the ratings for the tournament broadcast don’t appear to be running quite as well.

Wicked Chops looked at the numbers, so we’ll assume they’re right on when they say ratings for the final table broadcast appear to be off by more than 25% compared to 2009.

What accounts for the some 600,000 viewers who decided to not tune in for 2010? Likely a variety of factors – without a massive name at the final table this year ala Phil Ivey, you just didn’t see the same huge commercial push for the Main Event from a big online room this year like the one Full Tilt provided for Ivey in ‘09.

Don’t get us wrong, Mizrachi is big, but he’s not Ivey-household-name big. Before this year, he wasn’t even Mike-Matusow-always-featured-by-ESPN-no-matter-whats-actually-happening-big.

Viewer fatigue could also be a culprit; with High Stakes Poker, The Big Game, The Million Dollar Challenge, Doubles Poker Championship, and so on, the typical viewer has an excess of shows to watch, and the WSOP just might not be making the cut.

Add to that the live feed ESPN provided of the final table and the ease with which episodes can be viewed online, plus the later start and DVRability of the show, and you can start to see where the viewers might have gone.

At the end of the day, however, we’re left with the fact that this particular November Nine simply wasn’t a very interesting bunch, at least not from a television perspective. Many of them probably seemed downright interchangeable to a mainstream viewing audience, and that lack of uniqueness makes it very difficult for casual viewers to care about the outcome – and, therefore, unlikely to tune in to see it unfold.

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