2020 WSOP Main Event to Air on ESPN2
You may remember that for the first time in years, the 2020 WSOP Main Event did not play live on ESPN. Instead, ESPN chose to tape the final tables and heads-up finale for a later presentation. Earlier this week, it was announced that the WSOP on ESPN will be broadcast this Sunday, February 28th.
The broadcast will cover all of the highlights from the event but will have a unique feeling from prior years. Also, long-time broadcaster Norman Chad will not be part of the broadcast due to lingering complications from COVID-19.
2020 WSOP Main Event Broadcast Sunday on ESPN2
If you have been waiting to see coverage from the final tables and heads-up finale of the 2020 WSOP Main Event, your wait is about over. ESPN and the WSOP announced earlier this week that the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event will broadcast Sunday, February 28th over on ESPN2. The broadcast will last for four hours and cover the International final table, the Domestic final table, and the heads-up finale.
According to WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart, “We could not be more excited to deliver poker fans new primetime content on ESPN. With compelling storylines and unpredictable action, these episodes remind us all why there was a poker boom in the first place.”
As you already know, Joseph Hebert won the domestic version of the Main Event while Damian Salas won the international leg. The pair met in Las Vegas earlier this year with Salas coming out on top for the bracelet and the $1 million added prize.
New Format – Minus Norman Chad
Like many things associated with 2020, the 2020 WSOP Main Event coverage from ESPN will be very different than years past. First, the show is going back to an edited broadcast only. That’s how the event was shown for many years until poker live streaming became popular.
The four-hour broadcast will feature highlights from both final tables and likely will feature a good chunk of the heads-up battle between Salas and Hebert. Lon McEachern will return to broadcast the Main Event, but he will have a new partner.
For the first time since 2003, Norman Chad will not be joining McEachern. Instead, female pro player and broadcaster Jamie Kerstetter will be joining McEachern.
McEachern quickly took to Twitter to dispel any potential rumors about Chad’s departure from the team. There’s no conspiracy at work. Instead, Chad is still recovering from health issues that stemmed from his bout with COVID-19.
I would like to let our poker friends know that our colleague and pal @NormanChad is still recovering from some long-haul COVID-19 health issues thus preventing him from working on the upcoming @WSOP Main Event shows. We all wish him a full and healthy recovery.
— Lon McEachern (@lonmceachern) February 25, 2021
Despite Chad’s departure, fans can still look forward to some fantastic action. According to ESPN Senior VP of Programming & Acquisitions Tim Bunnell, “We are ecstatic that even in an unprecedented year, we can give our audience another fantastic World Series of Poker event to look forward to. The format may be different, but the action remains captivating.”
Expect Low Ratings for the Broadcast
First, I am very happy to hear that we will get to see an edited version of the Main Event. I’ve never been the biggest fan of live final tables and preferred the shorter broadcasts from before the streaming era. While this will be four hours, it will be four hours split up over three separate events.
I do look forward to seeing how the team of McEachern and Kerstetter work together. This is a big moment for Kerstetter in her broadcasting career and it could help propel her to greater things. With that said, I still believe that this event will be the lowest-rated Main Event final ever.
The outcome is already known, and the broadcast is being done over on ESPN2 instead of the primary network. This will guarantee lower than average viewership. This is one time I hope that I’m wrong. If you’re a poker fan, head over to ESPN2 this Sunday and check out the Main Event broadcast.