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The ABP and the state of pool

Posted 07-25-2011 at 08:47 PM by AzHousePro

So, I have been wracking my brain recently trying to figure out what it is about this ABP boycott that irks me so much. I think it is wrong on a number of different levels, but there was something bigger that bothered me and I couldn't put my finger on it. I think I have figured it out though.

Professional Pool is in a tough place right now. It has been for quite some time though. It just seems to be getting worse and worse. The economy is partly to blame, but the various people involved with the game are not helping either.

The players want to be treated with respect and say that they need to get paid. I do agree that they should be getting paid at the end of a tournament, but it is the respect part that I think bothers me. I don't want to lump all of the players in to the same group, but a lot of these players are getting exactly the respect from the game that they are showing to the game.

Lets think about what some of our top players have done for the game in recent history...

A multi-time World Champion walked out in the finals of an event put on by a MAJOR sponsor.

I have seen multiple players no-show World Championships.

I have seen male pro's line up at a tournament board and complain about the event, while a MAJOR sponsor was sitting less than 10 feet away.

I have watched a pro player walk off of the tournament floor after a questionable hit in his match and loudly proclaim that anyone who thought it was a bad hit was an idiot and just didn't know what they were watching. (Do you really want to define your fans as idiots?)

Now the players have decided that they want to form yet another players association to look out for the game. It seems to me that if they were truly interested in looking out for the game, they might want to take a long look in their mirrors. In the short time since this new players association was formed, we have had the following actions...

A board member of this group contacted the director of a major US event to request an afternoon match on day one of an upcoming event, because he “just didn't feel like playing in the morning”.

A board member of this group proudly told anyone on the rail who would listen at a longtime pro event that it would be the last time he would be at that event because the ABP would be taking over the points list and they would vote that event off the list.

The ABP board released PR announcing the first event on the BCA/ABP points list, when there is no such thing as the BCA/ABP points list.

This seems like the same sort of behavior that we have witnessed from pro players for quite some time. And that is ok if that is the extent of respect that you want to show for the game. But if you want to disrespect the game, then don't complain when you feel that you are being disrespected.

It is exactly this disrespect that is keeping this game down. Flipping through the channels on the TV today, I saw the World Championship of Ping Pong with a $40,000 first prize and multiple non-Ping Pong sponsors. I also saw a commercial for American Ninja touting a $50,000 sponsorship available. Businesses are getting involved in sponsoring non-mainstream sports. But do you know how many are interested in getting involved with pool? Looks like zero to me. How much of that lack of interest is due to the players? I don't know, but I would be willing to bet that it has something to do with it.

So here we are with the players blaming the state of the game on promoters slow paying. Look, the game is not where it is because of a couple promoters slow paying. A couple of promoters are slow paying because the game is where it is. And until everyone (including the players) comes together to really look after this game, nothing is going to get any better.

So either get serious about the game and make it better, or just keep on doing what you have been doing. But you can't have it both ways. You can't keep making the same mistakes and then complain when everyone else does too.

And no number of boycotts, press releases or attorneys are going to change that.
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Total Comments 8


  1. Old Comment
    Professional pool is indeed "getting worse and worse," just like a nightmare!
    Posted 07-26-2011 at 04:46 AM by JAM JAM is offline
  2. Old Comment
    jay helfert's Avatar
    Bravo for Mike for telling it like it is!
    Posted 07-26-2011 at 05:05 AM by jay helfert jay helfert is offline
  3. Old Comment
    The trouble is there is no overall governing body, so there are no sanctions for bad behavior, what ever form that takes. Until there is one the problem will be ever present, if only we could get someone like Matchroom to take over the game.....................oh well
    Posted 07-26-2011 at 05:08 AM by Georgia Boy Georgia Boy is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Bigkahuna's Avatar
    You know it is a funny game we play it in solitude one player against another. Everyone has won and everyone has lost. Everyone has given and taken a beating. Everyone has had an issue at one point or another. It is not a situation that fosters a community like team play. It is no wonder there is so much infighting even as to the direction to take or who is going to represent that direction.
    I understand the ABPs issue but do not take down the most prestigious 9 ball event to get that message across. Perhaps the ABP's mission needs to focus on fostering growing the sport rather than protecting the players. If the sport is vibrant the money will come.
    Posted 07-26-2011 at 05:21 AM by Bigkahuna Bigkahuna is offline
  5. Old Comment
    UGETTHE6's Avatar
    Promoters have the responsibility of finding sponsors. They need to keep working harder and find the sponsors that exist in other sports. Here’s the problem:

    Pool tournaments in this country are being ran by amateurs. Every single event in the US isn't run with a grain of professionalism as a MBL, NBA, or NFL game is. That is the problem in pool, which is why no major sponsor wants to sponsor events. Everything is being run by amateurs, all of these people are players or involved in the game for a life time, and think they can run an event. No. It takes a real business person and a professional event planner and massive marketing firms to put together a world class event.

    People thought they had that in Galveston, but it just wasn’t even the camera work for the live stream table wasn't fit for a regional event. It was terrible.

    Pool needs a media company to step in and take hold of professional events, hire a tournament director to run the event, and have a consultant from Diamond Tables help with the layout of the tables, but leave the rest to a professional event planning and marketing organization.

    Also each event should have an additional 50-75K allotted to have ESPN record the event, something we must pay for. Then eventually if the viewership is high enough maybe for ONCE we will have a viable product worth selling to the American people and fans. Thus selling commercials ect… Otherwise we have nothing, so since we have nothing who is being hurt? The players. That is why I support the players efforts and feel they should be given their money on time with no question. These guys travel around the country and world playing, many of them cannot afford to have money tied up for an extended period of time.

    Without professional people running these alleged professional events, there will never be a major sponsor in pool
    Posted 07-26-2011 at 08:15 AM by UGETTHE6 UGETTHE6 is offline
  6. Old Comment
    billiards hasn't gotten the attention it should since the early sixty's when it was on TV every weekend! been some shady promoters ever since!
    Posted 08-04-2011 at 06:11 PM by Brian9toes Brian9toes is offline
  7. Old Comment

    Let's add some perspective here ...

    Don't forget that the sponsors generally GIVE stuff to the pro's, the pros are NOT their customers ... Your average pool player is their customer.

    Pool has few sponsors because too many pool players are still squeezing the first nickel they ever touched. Just ask a few bar, tavern and parlor owners.

    I'm started some new pool leagues in a wide geographical area and in many places, the ONLY thing on the players' minds is whether they will pay $5 or $7 a week and what % is paid back. Add this to the fact that 80% of them drink water or endless coffee refills all night. Yeah, these guys/gals will make EXCELLENT retail customers.

    When is the last time you went to a movie, paid $10 or so per head to get in and then got $9 [or even $1] back when you walked out the door to go home?

    As an advertiser/sponsor, who wants a Pool of Paupers as a client base.

    Next time you're out shooting pool, buy something and encourage your friends to buy something. After all, the local bar isn't supposed to be a homeless shelter.
    Posted 09-21-2011 at 07:23 PM by westcoastwillie westcoastwillie is offline
  8. Old Comment
    BTW, I didn't acknowledge that the antics of the Pro's certainly don't help!

    On the other hand, how many NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. players are irrascable, unreliable and otherwise unworthy of any significant amount of respect? Lots of 'em ...

    The difference is the NFL, NBA, MLB spectator spends a lot of $$dough$$ on food, beer, cars, viagra, etc., etc,. etc.
    Posted 09-21-2011 at 07:32 PM by westcoastwillie westcoastwillie is offline

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