WPT Enterprises, stalwarts of televised poker, have reported gloomy figures for the second quarter of 2008. Revenues from almost all areas of the company are down on this time last year, with only online gaming recording modest growth. Even that ray of light may be deceiving; a look at the WPT’s online gaming figures from last year show that results for the second quarter of 2008 are down on the first quarter of 2007. Company CEO Steve Lipscomb seems to agree: “We continue to be disappointed in our online gaming results and have begun directing resources in our growing sponsorship business.”
The company as a whole recorded a net loss of $3.9 million, compared to $3.3 million over the same period last year. Overall revenues have fallen 34.3% from $7.7 million to $5.1 million. Increased cost cutting measures, including redundancies, have failed to offset the administrative costs incurred from the set up of WPT China and ClubWPT.com. These unfortunate figures come shortly after WPT agreed a deal with the Fox Sports Network (FSN) to broadcast a new series of the World Poker Tour across America.
In commenting on the numbers Limpscomb also revealed that FSN had commissioned a ClubWPT.com show, with players qualifying for entry via the website. Only a short run has been agreed, but more shows will be requested if the initial batch prove successful.
WPT Enterprises certainly seem to think that ClubWPT.com’s chances of success are good, having agreed a deal with FSN to “promote ClubWPT.com through in-show title sponsorship, in-show billboards, audio mentions, commercial inventory and website presence on the main page of FoxSports.com.” The increased media profile of ClubWPT.com and the new one hour format of the flagship program is expected to curtail the downswing in the coming months.
Chief scapegoat for the disappointing results seems to be a decreased license fee received for each episode after the switch from the Travel Channel to the Game Show Network. The company did not give any indication of what sort of license fee revenues they were expecting from FSN so it remains to be seen what sort of long term impact this area of potential profit will have.
It is, in general, a disheartening time for American businesses, with the credit crunch affecting almost everyone. With this in mind it might not be a surprise to see a multimedia company like WPT Enterprises suffering in the current economic client. Despite its poor second quarter, as a whole, the company is still in good shape – increased exposure, the start of the WPT China and a higher profile network may all work to redress the balance over the coming year.