World Poker Tour Enterprises (WPTE) will launch its highly anticipated Professional Poker Tour (PPT) television series on the international market amid legal issues in the United States, it was recently announced.
The PPT will pit select professional poker players against one another in invitational tournaments with huge pots and big action. Extensive qualification guidelines are in place to ensure that players invited to compete are strictly la crème de la crème of the professional poker playing world. No amateurs or semi-pros will be featured on the PPT, which has already aired 5 episodes on the World Poker Tour (WPT).
"The intent has always been to syndicate the PPT internationally as soon as possible to help drive people in overseas markets to our international online gaming business," said Steven Lipscomb, president and CEO of WPTE. "Legal disputes over the domestic distribution of the PPT have made an international premiere likely for the show."
The company has been locked in legal proceedings with WPT broadcaster Travel Channel (TRV) since mid-September. At that time, ESPN had offered WPTE a three-year deal with two one-year options to air PPT. When WPTE offered the same deal to TRV according to contractual agreements, TRV reportedly sent threatening letters to both ESPN and WPTE claiming it already had an agreement with WPTE to broadcast PPT. The subsequent dispute between the two firms caused ESPN to withdraw its offer and WPTE to file a lawsuit against TRV and its parent company, Discovery Communications, Inc. (DCI), in the Los Angeles Superior Court for breach of contract and intentional interference.
No settlement has been reached by the two companies and WPTE has retained Stanton (Larry) Stein of Alschuler, Grossman, Stein & Kahan, LLP to defend its case and speed up proceedings with TRV. Stein is renowned for his successful and efficient resolution of intellectual property disputes with integrated media companies.
Despite the current dispute, both firms assert they are committed to fulfilling obligations in connection with Season IV of the WPT series and to continuing to develop the WPT franchise together. The WPT television series is ranked as the most successful show ever broadcast on The Travel Channel and is credited with having sparked the current poker boom.