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Epic Poker League Inking European TV Deal

Poker’s Daniel Negreanu opted out of the EPL.

Poker’s Daniel Negreanu opted out of the EPL.

It’s a good sign that the Epic Poker League (EPL), which is in its first season, is getting more attention. The league has offered three events and there are two more to go—Tournament Series Four (February 9-12) and the League Championship (February 13-14). Although the league has had its naysayers, such as Daniel Negreanu publically proclaiming that it would never work, and its controversies, the championship won by David “Chino” Rheem who was found to be in violation of the EPL’s policy on Standards and Conduct, it’s also managed to attract some fine professional competition, raise cash for charity with its celebrity events and offered an exciting pro/am competition.

 

Deal in Europe

The EPL, which airs on CBS and Velocity in the U.S., is negotiating to have approximately 70 hours of programming shown on European TV and in other parts of the world through the Internet. The deal is being negotiated with Pinnacle Entertainment and will result in the programming being shown on the Poker Channel Europe. It’s expected that the broadcast will reach 30 million homes on the continent.

Katherine Kowal, who is Federated Sports + Gaming (FS+G) vice-president of league operations and programming, observed, “Expanding our television coverage into Europe is a step forward for building a global fan base for Epic Poker.” She added,

“Poker Channel Europe, with quality distribution and broad reach, will help us introduce our content to a very important market and audience.”

FS+G is the primary company that started the EPL.

 

How the EPL Works

Along with FS+G, the EPL was fostered in 2011 by Former World Series of Poker commissioner Jeffrey Pollack, professional poker player Annie Duke and Matt Savage. Pollack is Executive Chairman, Annie Duke serves as Commissioner, and Matt Savage is the Tournament Director. The EPL was created as an exclusive league with stringent requirements for admission and a strict policy for standards and conduct. In this first season, all events have been or are being held at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.


A Second Year?

It was Canadian poker pro Daniel Negreanu who in his blog post entitled “Why I Didn’t Play the EPL” stated why he felt the league would not work. He was candid about his beliefs.

Poker pro Annie Duke is the EPL president.

Poker pro Annie Duke is the EPL president.

Negreanu noted, “I don’t believe this product will resonate with the public and based on my intimate knowledge of how these types of things work, I don’t think it’s possible to bring in enough revenue to survive. The only legitimate chance the league has to survive is if regulation happened in the U.S. and they were able to create an online poker site.” He then explained, “I chose not to take part in the World Team Poker event for one sole reason: I didn’t think it would be a success. The same holds true with the Epic Poker League.”

And although there is still no legal online poker in the U.S. and there are other forces working against the league, such as a lack of sponsorship and generally fewer people watching poker on TV, the EPL has done a lot right so that it may continue a second year. Endorsing and holding members to strict standards of conduct, creating events with high standards and working towards refining their product appears to be paying off for the EPL with a European TV deal.

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Posted by on Feb 1 2012. Filed under Online Poker News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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