The Glamour of Gammon: Backgammon's Popularity Spreads to Television

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TV cameras role as backgammon prepares for debut series.

As the A list of the social elite expands to absorb the wealth of rising gaming stars that events such as WSOP have produced, the playing field is opening to a new circle of celebrity gamers.

The announcement therefore that UK digital channel, Pokerzone has commissioned TV production company, 8mm Productions to produce a 4 hour series capturing the action at this year's World Backgammon Championships in Monte Carlo has started an exciting chain of events to catapult backgammon into the limelight.

"The Game of Kings" and "the King of Games"

Historically known as a game of skill and sophistication, backgammon has many admirers but as the coverage of skill games increases, can backgammon rival the fame of Poker? Definitively yes answers Patti Rubin, Executive Producer for 8mm Productions forthcoming match-play backgammon series.

"Backgammon is more sophisticated and intelligent than other games, and what I think this production will do is renew the interest for players who had ventured into other gaming areas," explained Rubin. "The power of television coverage is immense. You only have to look at the difference it has made to poker, before television, there were perhaps 60 entrants at the WSOP and this year, as poker’s coverage peaks, 6,000 players entered this year. People actually wait in line for an autograph from the winners. Because of television, the leading players have become superstars. Therefore I think the media interest in backgammon will bring a lot of people back to the game, as backgammon already has so much going for it."

The lure of fame is something that backgammon players have also recognized. "If people appear on television, and become a celebrity by playing backgammon, their earning potential increases with endorsements, added prize money and significantly larger player numbers and it is definitely going to become more glamorous!" predicted Peter Hallberg, 2004 Backgammon World Champion. "In the past year or two there has been a small decline in the number of players attending the World Backgammon Championships, but after the efforts of backgammon servers such as Play65 and Gammon Empire more players are coming back to the tournaments and this will increase exponentially with TV. Servers such as Play65 (http://www.P65.com) have demonstrated the amazing power of promotion to draw awareness to the game, while this series will bring a new found glamour to the game."

The Poker Model

Poker is a case-study for success and naturally offers a template for the exciting and continuing growth of backgammon. “This series is the starting point for backgammon,” affirmed Andy Bell, Series Producer for 8mm Productions. "Poker is the template. TV was the catalyst for poker and will be for backgammon. There is a real future in backgammon - it has huge potential. Ideally we would like to see players like Gus Hansen return to the game, who have proven in the U.S that games playing personalities can have very wide appeal, even to house wives! I can’t think of another game, other than poker, that has the chance to captivate viewers like backgammon."

HIGH STAKES BACKGAMMON will be broadcast during October and November on Pokerzone in the UK, Germany, and Denmark. The series is being distributed to TV stations worldwide by UK company, TVF International, one of the world’s largest distributors of factual programming.

For more details or information please contact:

Claire Allen, PR Director, TC.ADS.

00 357 25 828 882

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Claire Allen