Federated Sports & Gaming, Inc. is about to make a big bet in the poker industry. The start-up company promotes poker-related businesses and is expected to announce a deal with the newly founded Epic Poker League. Though many have reacted with doom and gloom to Black Friday, Federated Sports believes there is plenty of money to be made in televising poker. The Epic Poker League will air on CBS and Velocity, a sub-division of Discovery Communications, Inc.
The poker league will pay CBS to air the tournaments on weekends as a “time buy.” Velocity will run the show free of charge, as a cross-promotional change between itself and the Epic Poker League. Velocity’s senior vice president Bob Scanlon commented that Epic “is a natural fit for Velocity and the upscale male audience that we’re courting.”
The majority of poker shows have engaged in a “time buy” with the airing network. Until Black Friday, Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars regularly paid broadcasters to feature shows sponsored by their brands. Since these two have been forced out of the American market most poker shows have become unbranded or canceled. While Full Tilt and PokerStars are embroiled in legal battles, the market has plenty of room for newcomers.
Federated Sports was founded in 2010 and is based in Los Angeles. Venture capitalist J.B. Britzker is an investor in the company. Federated Sports’ chief executive Jeffrey Pollack wouldn’t comment on the specific terms of the broadcasting deal with CBS or Velocity. He said Federated believes that there is an untapped market of consumer goods and brands who would greatly benefit from advertising to the poker demographic. Where it will go remains to be seen. The broadcast dates for Epic Poker League will be released later this summer.