Poker-themed TV shows are on the chopping block. Bloomberg has relayed the news that ESPN is pulling the plug on its poker advertising and programming in the wake of last Friday's FBI crackdown on popular online poker destinations.
The sites whose bank accounts were frozen by the FBI last Friday--PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker--had been major sponsors of televised tournaments. NBC, Fox Sports and the Game Show Network also televise events, and according to the news outlet, NBC's spokesperson hasn't issued a statement.
As of now, it seems unclear what the fate of ESPN's marquee poker event, "The World Series of Poker," will be. Gambling trade sites have noted that ESPN has pulled all poker-related advertising from its website, may pull the North American Poker Tour tournament and observed that many of the high-profile commercials during the "World Series" featured a "bevy of commercials" from PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.
ESPN's "we're still figuring all this out" statement is below:
"We are aware of the indictment only through what has been announced publicly," Bristol, Connecticut-based ESPN said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. "For the immediate future, we are making efforts to remove related advertising and programming pending further review."