Dsport to telecast Poker Sports League’s season 2

MUMBAI: Dsport, Discovery Communications India’s sports TV channel, has acquired the exclusive rights to broadcast season two of the Poker Sports League (PSL), the world's first franchise-based poker league. The tournament will be covered in English to begin with. This will be the first-ever broadcast of the globally popular sport of poker in India. PSL’s choice of broadcast partner was made after careful evaluation involving multiple bids. 

PSL co-founder Amit Burman said, "PSL's biggest challenge has been to overcome preconceived notions and change people's perception with regards to poker. Hence, our positioning has been clear from the very start and this will get established further by getting the league broadcasted on a sports channel.  Dsport’s wide coverage of international sporting properties made it the natural choice.

With this partnership announcement, PSL has clearly distinguished itself from other leagues in India. For Season two, PSL has franchised 12 teams with each team committing close to INR 15 crore over the next eight years. For the season, the organisers have announced a prize pool of INR 3.6 crores, which is a significant increase from the previous edition.

TS Panesar, head of business at Dsport, said, “Poker is broadcast on sports channels across the globe since 1978. In India, this will be a first and considering that PSL is the world's first franchise-based poker league, we are excited to partner with them. The PSL team is committed to creating an excellent broadcast-friendly show to reach out to sport lovers across the subcontinent and make this an exceptional experience for them."

The teams this year will consist of a total of 10 players each, comprising one mentor/playing captain, two pro-players, two from free live qualifiers, three from free online qualifiers and two wild-card entries. While the first season saw 140 players getting drafted, this year the drafts will see close to 170 players, who can be eligible for participation.

Based on the design, PSL is eliminating the factor of luck by ensuring the players get to prove their poker skills over multiple events. For instance, players who want to make it to the online draft need to play 24 out of 72 deep-stack online events and need to perform well across all the events in order to stand a chance of getting drafted.

 "We are very excited to have DSport as our broadcasting channel partner this season. Season 1 was a proof of the concept year as we wanted to test the potential of converting an individual sport into a team sport. Season 2 requires us to multiply PSL's reach much beyond the online platform in order to connect with every possible poker enthusiast out there,” PSL co-founder Pranav Bagai said. “Anybody who knows the ‘p’ of poker can prove his/her skill by qualifying through free live qualifiers or free online qualifiers, which began last month and will continue until March 2018.”

When asked about this association, Viswanathan Anand, chess maestro and brand ambassador of PSL, said, “Poker as a sport has ample potential and it is about time that we Indians realise it and give the sport the kind of attention that it deserves. PSL joining hands with DSport sure looks like a step in the right direction.”

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