Saturday June 18 2011 : U.S. INTEREST IN POKER REMAINS HIGH
35 percent increase in television viewership
Independent numbers released by Nielsen Media Research show that interest in US poker remains high, with a 35 percent increase in viewers for World Poker Tour televised matches broadcast on the Fox Sports Network.
According to Nielsen, the WPT season IX's household rating has jumped from .52 to .70, with an average number of weekly viewers now at 669,000. Over the last eleven weeks, the WPT has seen an even bigger jump, with average weekly viewership up over 50 percent from last season, making WPT the top-rated program on FSN.
A WPT spokesman said this week that CEO Steve Heller and president Adam Pliska set out to make significant changes to the WPT television product for Season IX, including injecting what they dubbed "Y.E.S." programming (younger, edgier, sexier elements) into the series.
In a season that will feature WPT's 200th episode, major changes have had a big impact in greatly energising the viewing experience, the company claims. Airing every Sunday night, WPT's infusion of new talent, segments, theme music, graphics and a fresh way of covering the action has led to significant viewer increases and renewed attention.
Season IX poker has eight more episodes due over the next eight Sunday nights, covering four of the best events on tour, with several million dollar prizes up for grabs.
The ninth season of WPT will air again from episode 1 beginning on August 14, 2011.