Regular readers know that I consider ESPN to be the worst major poker broadcaster on US TV. I'd almost given up hope for the World Series of Poker broadcasts till I read a month ago that WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack had said "I think we need to be focused on quality more than quantity." In this archive review, Jeffrey, you can find everything you need to know to make the WSOP broadcasts great.
My first reviews of ESPN's broadcasts, the 2005 US Poker Championship and 2006 WSOP, were just one paragraph long each, but they summarized the basic problems with ESPN's broadcasts well. I said ESPN's "poker coverage is by people who aren't interested in poker, for people who aren't interested in poker." The Wall Street Journal wrote one of my best articles for me. It was an article about fans' criticism of ESPN's soccer coverage, but I found that the problems were so similar to ESPN's poker broadcasts that I quoted the article extensively to create Fans Say ESPN's (poker) Coverage Deserves Penalty. I started my most thorough review of an ESPN poker show, ESPN Presents Short-Attention-Span TV (A US Poker Championship Review) with "the 2006 US Poker Championship may be the worst poker broadcast I've ever seen." I expressed disappointment that ESPN still seemed to be unreformed in Changes For ESPN's 2007 World Series of Poker Broadcasts. I did like one WSOP broadcast (see World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table Live Review)... but it wasn't done by ESPN. Unfortunately, the other non-ESPN production (see World Series of Poker Live Review) was dreadful. I had another article written for me when Norman Chad said "the viewers don't care," which perfectly summed up ESPN's attitude towards poker on TV. By the time I reviewed the 2007 WSOP (A Few Yuks For the Channel Surfer (A Review of ESPN's WSOP Coverage)), I had given up writing serious reviews of ESPN's broadcasts and, instead, mocked ESPN executives mercilessly. I continued in a similar vein with what I consider to be my best article: ESPN/ABC To Apply Poker Model To Football Broadcasts. I thought that if ESPN executives imagined butchering football broadcasts in the way that they butcher poker broadcasts they might finally see the light. The article was a parody, but some people believed it was real and were mortified.
Now we have a potential savior, and it turns out it's not even someone in ESPN. Don't disappoint me Jeffrey.