(see our main article for a brief summary of the new schedule; listen to the entire conference call)
Poker Player Newspaper: heard will give two expense-paid trips back to final table? Public invited, plus families?
Answer: we'll bring back players, encouraged to invite family, friends. Ample seating. Expect poker's biggest names to come out. Expect music, Hollywood, etc. stars.
Follow-up question: how many people can arena accommodate?
Answer: don't yet know capacity for FT in Rio.
Gary Wise, ESPN: reaction to outcry from traditionalist?
Answer: Progress comes with detractors. Track record shows can respect tradition while innovating. Still poker, still bracelets, same structures. Only effects final 9 players. It will further mainstream this game.
Adam Schwartz: what effect on size of field (e.g. foreigners coming over twice), results could be different due to hiring coaches.
Answer: shouldn't effect participation, only effects 9 players. Coming back to star in history-making telecast. This is the year to come: stakes never higher, opportunities for personal fame and fortune. Second trip to Vegas is nothing compared to opportunity to become global star. Players should relish opportunity. It could be life altering. Cards don't change in 16 weeks. Everyone has equal opportunity to improve in 16 weeks. Interval should be used for preparation and opportunity on big stage.
Steve Rosenbloom: changes to apparel rules? What was biggest/last obstacle to delayed final table idea?
Answer: last thing they had to get past was consent of Nevada Gaming Control Board. WSOP has liberal player apparel policy. Can wear sponsor logos, but no single company name more than once on an article of clothing. No max on # of unique logos. Coming from Nascar it would be great if they look like Nascar drivers. For final table members in 16 weeks he hopes they sign many sponsors.
Follow up: what was Gaming Commission's concern?
Answer: not at liberty to discuss, but they discuss tournament plans in advance every year.
CardPlayer: business/player considerations about doing this, how will they market it?
Answer: Main issue was innovation for the good of the game, concept fits well. Ty Stewart was creative spark behind idea, collaborated with Jamie H. at ESPN. Want more excitement to final table, benefits flow to people who make it there.
Jamie Horowitz: ESPN is just beginning marketing planning. Plan to have .com group with final 9 players from July to November and put it on web. They'll document the 4 months.
Question: promos about FT players during other events airing?
Answer: Sept to Oct. shows will look much like previous years.
Question: how much time spend with players during 4 months?
Seth Palansky: Everyone will get access to the players and we'll make household names of all of them and they can participate in tournaments in the interim for them to take advantage of opportunity presented by this.
Answer: ESPN won't be the only ones telling the story. They want all the media outlets talking to the players and writing about them. No different from Super Bowl or other sporting events.
Question: Miller Brewing's role?
Answer: in the middle of forging plans. National promotion June 1st, will take advantage of opportunity.
That's all folks!