World Poker Tour Enterprises, Inc. (WPTE) and The Travel Channel (TRV) have reached an agreement to air WPTE's new series, the Professional Poker Tour (PPT), it was announced today. The television show will debut in the third quarter of 2006 on Wednesday nights from 9-11 p.m. (EST/PST), following the completion of Season Four of the World Poker Tour (WPT).
The PPT will pit 200 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. Players can gain entrance to the league through the WPT, the World Series of Poker, or other distinctions including the Poker Hall of Fame.
Each segment of the tour will award a guaranteed prize pool of $2.5 million. No amateurs or semi-pros will be featured on the PPT, which has already aired 5 episodes on the World Poker Tour (WPT). In addition, the new series will feature high production values, detailed story telling, and expert analysis from two-time World Series bracelet winner Mark Seif, and actor/poker enthusiast Matt Corboy.
"The World Poker Tour created the televised poker boom, and the PPT is the perfect extension of that franchise to bolster our position in the marketplace," said Steve Lipscomb, president, CEO and founder of WPT Enterprises, Inc.
"The WPT is the first legitimate televised sports league in history that lets the viewer at home come play with sports greats. And now, when you play in World Poker Tour events you don't just have a shot at life changing money and instant television stardom. With the addition of the PPT, you get a shot at living the professional poker player lifestyle. Win a World Poker Tour event and you immediately get a three year 'tour card,' allowing you to compete in Professional Poker Tour."
Pat Younge, the executive vice president and manager of Travel Channel, remarked: "This deal allows Travel Channel to feature 44 weeks of premiere episodes of WPT and PPT programming each year, which is great for poker fans who have asked for additional premieres, and really bolsters our 'Wednesday Night is Poker Night on the Travel Channel' platform."
The finalization of the deal marks the end of ongoing litigation between the two firms. In mid-September, a legal battle ensued when TRV questioned the legal right of WPTE to negotiate broadcasting deals with other networks interested in airing the PPT.
In today's press release, a joint statement was published addressing the issue: "WPT Enterprises and The Travel Channel are pleased to announce that they have resolved their differences amicably and terminated the litigation between them. Both parties look forward to continuing their mutually prosperous relationship."
Please see www.worldpokertour.com for further details.