Started in 2008, the November Nine saw the Main Event’s 9-player final table take a hiatus for over three months.
The goal was to generate more excitement, conduct interviews with each player, and build ESPN’s television coverage.
Now, the nine finalists will only be given a 2-day break before starting play again.
The November Nine had a good run, spanning from 2008-16. But the main reason for disbanding it is that both ESPN and Poker Central will offer a new broadcasting schedule.
This summer, the entire Main Event coverage will be almost live – with a 30-minute delay – from Day 1 until the final hand is played. The change will mean 40 hours of Main Event coverage, or 130 hours overall when TV airtime is factored into the equation.
WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart believes that the new format is completely necessary in today’s broadcasting world.
“Creating mainstream attention for poker is what has always been important to us,” he said. “Not a nickname. It’s a whole new broadcast model. Linear complimented by digital.”
Stewart added, “Basically, we have November Nine-like programming for the entire duration of the tournament. So the goal is to build engagement each day, and core to this approach is the viewer’s expectation to pay it off while engagement is high.”
Below you can see ESPN’s coverage schedule for the entire Main Event. Pay special attention to July 17th and 20th, when the nine finalists get a short break (all times EST):
July 8th: Day 1a from 4-8pm
July 9th: Day 1b from 2-6pm
July 11th: Day 2a/2b from 8-11pm
July 12th: Day 2c from 8-10pm
July 14th: Day 4 from 8-11pm
July 15th: Day 5 from 2-4pm
July 16th: Day 6 from 2-6pm
July 17th: Day 7 from 7-9pm
July 19th: Final table preview from 10-11pm
July 20th: 9 players to 6 players from 9pm-TBD
July 21th: 6 players to 3 players from 9pm-TBD
July 22th: 3 players to 1 player from 9pm-TBD