This is a cross-post from my PokerStrategy.com column about the Global Poker Index’s new plans to turn poker into a paid spectator sport:
This week the Global Poker Index announced their ambitious plans for the Global Poker League next year. In an attempt to turn live poker into a genuine spectator sport, they plan to showcase 14 weeks of team events, some of which are played in a sealed off cube where hole cards are shown to a live audience in real time. The players will be standing, there will be a shot clock and the cards will be digital.
Most interesting of all, some of these events are scheduled to take place in large venues. The players will be paid a wage rather than buy into the event.They will be paid by revenues made from sponsorships, tickets sold to the events and merchandise.
Poker has lots of parallels with sport, especially the televised form. However, until now, nobody has tried to grow the game selling tickets to watch it live, as happens in traditional sports. The business model of all live poker events involve getting the viewers to somewhere down the line play in those events, or at the linked online poker room.
Is poker really the sort of game that people would pay to watch live? [Read more…]