When the World Series of Poker announced that it would be handling the primary media coverage in house for the first time, it left a lot of poker fans wondering exactly what kind of coverage they could expect.
Would it result in sanitized coverage that glossed over any problems or controversies during the WSOP?
According to a recent interview with Seth Palansky, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Caesars Interactive Entertainment, his time with another in house media group has taught him that this doesn’t have to be the case.
“The best example I can give is from my past experience. I used to work at the NFL and helped found the NFL Network,” Palansky told pokerfuse. “Everyone was worried NFL Network 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.”
Palansky did, however, say that since the players are their customers, readers might see something of a decline in stories that might embarrass players without having any real news value.
“We’re not looking to attack or embarrass anyone,” he said. “We intend to cover the action and atmosphere and bring the information to the public.”
Overall, Palansky says that there will be “about 35 people” dedicated to providing live coverage of the events throughout the WSOP. The staff will be headed by Rob Kirschen, who has previous experience reporting on the WSOP live for PokerNews, the firm that was previously in charge of the tournament’s live coverage.
One of the big questions that players always have is just how much live video coverage there will be of WSOP events. This has varied in previous years, from minimal coverage at times to the one year when ESPN showed live coverage day after day of the Main Event.
This year, while there will be video “snippets” available each day, the main focus will be on live streaming coverage of final tables. The primary final tables each day will feature commentary by David Tuchman, who has previously taken on that role for the WSOP. Tuchman’s broadcasts will feature a 30-minute delay, but will allow viewers to see players’ hole cards.
“We plan to do 31 live streams with Tuchman over the first 35 days of WSOP,” Palansky said. “We also expect to cover another 30 events on the secondary stream, with no commentary/graphics.” He also added that because there are a handful of days in which there are three final tables playing out simultaneously, about seven or eight events won’t receive any final table streaming.
The switch to an in-house reporting team was announced earlier this year. At the time, Palansky told F5poker.com that economics ultimately led to the decision for the WSOP to go its own way.
“There was once a day we got paid a significant amount by a third party to provide live reporting and split the traffic,” Palansky said. “Those days are gone. PokerNews asked for a nearly 200 percent increase this year to do the job and we simply can’t justify that expense in a traffic-sharing agreement.”