When PokerStars announced the formation of the North American Poker Tour in January, it was during the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and camera crews were on site to film some of the tournament happenings. People noticed that the crew was from 411 Productions, the same company that films other poker events for ESPN, so speculation began that the NAPT would likely appear on ESPN at some point. But no confirmation came, so it remained a rumor until now. It is official that the NAPT will be aired on ESPN2.
If the NAPT is anything like other PokerStars tournament series, like the European Poker Tour (EPT), it has the potential to be wildly successful. Each tournament looks to be run like a finely tuned machine, complete with a solid field of pros and online qualifiers, as well as a welcome party for the guests and a charity tournament somehow intertwined. PokerStars does know how to run a tournament. And establishing a connection with model Joanna Krupa as its hostess and making the first official event one that coincided with the already-popular Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza in Las Vegas were more keys to potential success.
The ESPN2 deal is the icing on the NAPT cake. There will be 16 hours of original programming set to begin on ESPN2 in April of 2010, starting with footage from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and then moving on to the Venetian, with the latter coverage including the $5K NAPT Main Event as well as the upcoming $25K buy-in Invitational High Roller Bounty Shootout tournament at the Venetian.
Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu commented, “Having the North American Poker Tour on ESPN2 is going to take poker on this continent to a different level. With some of the most important gaming venues in the US on board and the reach of ESPN2, the NAPT is set to bring the excitement of world-class tournament poker to millions who love this game as much as I do.”
When the NAPT wraps in Las Vegas, it will prepare for its next stop at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut from April 7 through 11. The 411 Productions crews will be on location there as well, filming the action for upcoming ESPN2 episodes. Future NAPT tour stops will follow the same pattern when they are announced.