by Bodog - 12/12/2005
San Jose, Costa Rica – Today, Bodog announced a deal with Spike TV for a made-for-TV special produced by Bodog Productions and starring Bodog Founder and CEO Calvin Ayre. The recent deal marks another milestone in Ayre’s plan to utilize television to help turn Bodog into a 21st century media and entertainment giant. Bodog is the first company with roots in the online gaming industry to produce a TV show and host an hour-long TV special with U.S. soldiers and their families as the benefactors. This move again redefines the playing field for online gaming companies, forcing the rest of the industry to reexamine their business models.
Bodog’s celebrity “thank you to the troops” charity event was held for the 110,000 men and women of the U.S. military in Hawaii, many of whom were awaiting or returning from deployment in the Middle East. The two-day event has been distilled in a one-hour program, “Bodog Salutes the Troops: A Tribute to American Heroes,” and is set to telecast on Spike TV on Sunday, December 18 (12:30 -1:30 a.m ET/PT; 11:30 p.m.–12:30 a.m. CT), a great way to cap a pre-holiday Sunday night for Spike’s young male audience.
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The event benefited the Fisher House Foundation, which supports military families, and included celebrities, musicians, comedians and troops interacting in various activities, including a poker tournament and concert and comedy show in Oahu, Hawaii. The celebrity events brought together the servicemen and women of the NAVY, AIR FORCE, MARINES and ARMY based at Hickam Airforce Base, Schofield Barracks, Pearl Harbor and Kaneohe Marine Corps Base.
The weekend kicked off with an inter-service poker tournament overseen by world famous poker tournament director Matt Savage with military finalists playing alongside celebrities, professional poker players and Bodog players at Camp Bodog at the exclusive Kahala Mandarin Oriental resort. The No Limit Texas Hold’em tournament was won by actress and first-time tournament player Estella Warren (“The Cooler,” “Planet of the Apes”), who blazed a trail through the 90-player field, knocking out professional poker player David Williams along the way. Warren took home the grand prize trophy and a monetary donation was made in her name to the Army’s morale welfare department.
The show’s final table also featured Shannon Elizabeth (“American Pie”), Emmy Award winner Jorge Garcia (“Lost”), World Series of Poker winner Josh Arieh, four servicemen and Bodog winner Tim Johnson, who earned his trip to Hawaii through an online Bodog tournament. Sgt. 1 st Class Shane Woods of the Army was the lucky loser, taking home the second-place prize.
Other tournament participants included Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich ("Survivor," "The Amazing Race 7"); Dulè Hill ("The West Wing"); Peter Berg (Director, "Friday Night Lights," "The Rundown"); Joshua Malina ("The West Wing); Kelli Williams ("The Practice"); as well as 14 Bodog.net players and more than 60 U.S. troops. Performances included Snoop Dogg, Colin Quinn ("Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn," "SNL"); Paul Rodriguez ("The Original Latin Kings of Comedy"); and Wanda Sykes ("Monster-in-Law," "Wanda Does It").
“The weekend exceeded all our expectations,” said Ayre. “Bodog Salutes the Troops was designed to raise awareness for Fisher House Foundation and provide entertainment for the troops, and judging by smiles on faces and the tremendous support from all involved, the events were a great success.”
“We are incredibly grateful to Bodog for their compassion and generosity,” said James Weiskopf, Vice President of Fisher House Foundation. “We hope that the weekend will bring added attention to the Fisher House Foundation and the military families that we support.”