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06-21-2018, 01:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by KAP1976 View Post
Seriously

Honest question.

If I'm a 16-year-old, and I didn't grow up around the game, what motivation do I have to pick it up?
That's the heart of the problem right there.

The answer is get colleges involved.
If a handful of select colleges had billiards teams both men's and women's ...if there was a collegiate scholastic division at the US Open, for individual and team events....if colleges competed to get there and win a national championship and offered scholarships (full ride) to stock their teams with the best talent...then the incentive for a young kid (more importantly, their parent's) to get the gear, the table, and the drive to practice and compete and advance.

My son is a fencer and there is literally a zero chance of earning a living as a pro fencer...but when we go to these US Fencing national tournaments, the thousand other kids competing all have either Olympics or college scholarship on their minds.

That's where pool can be saved in America. The incentive must be at the free college education.
Believe it or not, Mark wilson and what he has been doing at Lindenwood is the very grassroots of what could elevate pool in America.

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06-21-2018, 02:23 PM

While I donít discount video games having an impact on young persons habits. Iím no expert but I have owned a poolhall and Iím also a millenial (barely), so hereís my 2 cents:

I think image is one thing, and it affects the culture and growth of any given entity. Also, I think image does affect pool here in the U.S. The problem I see with it is not the video games though, much more issues with the members of the communityís general attitudes regarding the sport and their interaction with it. Economic competition is a much bigger factor though.

1. Commercially everything is price per foot. Pool tables take up massive amounts of space. If you include the 58Ē each direction on top of the space of the table, a restaurant can put at least six 4 person tables in itís place. Three guys play pool for two hours at $10 a head, not accounting for wear/tear costs of the table owner pockets 60 bucks. A CHEAP restaurant seats 50$ per table twice in that same space and time doing $600 in business. Add in, that in the commercial competition, restaurants are not even necessarily high performers. So what you get is establishment owners buying pool tables as a side show to bring in people to eat and drink. Obviously this is much more prevelant across america than billiard halls and the like for this reason.

So now you are that bar/restaurant owner, unless you yourself are the enthusiast itís extremely unlikely that diamond tables, simonis, red ring cue balls, or any of that stuff that makes the physics of the game exacting based on the cost of these items and the mixing of booze and food with the equation. So what the broad public gets to play with are crappy tables and crappy equipment made to satisfy the economics of the situation. Hard for a know nothing to appreciate the beauty of the physics in play when they are being presented a single gear bicycle to judge the experience with. As far as bars and restaurants go, restaurants for the most part do not want people to stay... they want people to show up, eat, and LEAVE. So a pool table is counter to most restaurant owners goals.

So what you end up with is youth who rarely ever even see a pool table until they are 21, and then they get a crappy table to play with. Not exactly a recipe for bringing in millions of followers.


So then we flip the coin and talk about the community and the image of the community from the outsiders perspective.

If we are going to attract youth and the rest of the community we have to get the tables out of the bars. Not saying that is what needs to happen, but if the goal is to attract millions it needs to stand on itís own, outside of the bars. Otherwise, pool is not competing with golf, itís competing for itís place in the world with foosball, pinball, darts, and shuffleboard.

2. I truly admire those that love the game so much and continue to put their hearts into supporting pool as a whole.... because the community they are shopping to has relatively low interest in supporting them. The 9 ball open is a great example.. regardless of the disclosures debate.. The underlying fact is that a lot of pool players EXPECT that events like this should be put on pro bono on the organizers side. Hard to imagine that growing into ANYTHING more than what it is today with that as a baseline.

Whether itís league players, pros, or common joes, most pool players (by nature or nurture, who knows...) are only focused on what they can GET from pool.

For any given league that has payouts... How about we propose %20 of the winnings at the end go to the local charities of the top 3 teams choice. Post the winnings online so the charities in the hunt can follow along week to week and root for them. Better yet, have a league rep that getís 10% of the haul for writing blog stuff and emails the charity groups with pics and stuff. Have the teams sport shirts representing these charities so they get the exposure every week. Even better, invite sponsors to buy the shirts and slap their names on Ďem too. your team wins, the money donated by team & the sponsors. Invite both groups to come watch, this will bring business to the establishments... If pool brings more people, bar owners will see more value in backing pool events or buy nicer equipment, who knows, maybe they pay the 20% to charities and make out like bandits at the same time.

I can only imagine the outrage at this proposition for MOST leagues.

None of these comments directed at anyone in particular, I gave building pool my best efforts and failed, frustrated. My biggest frustration at that time was the other poolhalls in town were more interested in protecting their regulars than they were in collaborating (leagues/tourneys etc) with me to make a more collective effort to grow the game. I wish I had more savvy at the time, I was young and bright eyed but lacking.

My hat goes off and heart goes out to to the mainstays that keep organizing events and keeping the sport going. Iím in love with it and appreciate their efforts immensely

As long as the mentality of the majority of players in america is along the lines ďIíve got my stick, my wallet, and Iím alone vs everyone and not putting any money in unless the odds are ďworth itĒ financiallyĒ, there is no underlying organic support from the pool community or vis a vis the rest of the community.

2018 thriving businesses focus their public relations identities more on what they have to GIVE then to GET. Itís a virtual guarantee that if you watch any of the major sports that we so wish billiards would rise to, They will mention at least 2 charities or foundations. With an NFL or NBA game itís practically half the broadcast.

As far as image goes, the biggest thing there imo is that pool is perceived as a broke manís sport ruled by experts... What incentive does a casual joe have to come down to the poolhall and gamble... knowing he is likely the only guy in room with any money, and also that he is likely not as good as half the people there. I donít think this is necessarily reality, but I think itís the perception of outsiders as far as I can tell. How about we get some black tie events going with corporate sponsors donating to different things with modest payouts for the players.

I realize there are efforts along these lines already, none of my comments meant to diminish those. Just general thoughts about pool and pool players in the US.

You can use charities as a placeholder for any number of things for this convo, the point is about bringing in people from outside the poolhall and giving them a reason to care about who wins. The more people that see talent on display, the more people will want to give it a try.
  
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06-21-2018, 02:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardigan Kid View Post
That's the heart of the problem right there.

The answer is get colleges involved.
If a handful of select colleges had billiards teams both men's and women's ...if there was a collegiate scholastic division at the US Open, for individual and team events....if colleges competed to get there and win a national championship and offered scholarships (full ride) to stock their teams with the best talent...then the incentive for a young kid (more importantly, their parent's) to get the gear, the table, and the drive to practice and compete and advance.

My son is a fencer and there is literally a zero chance of earning a living as a pro fencer...but when we go to these US Fencing national tournaments, the thousand other kids competing all have either Olympics or college scholarship on their minds.

That's where pool can be saved in America. The incentive must be at the free college education.
Believe it or not, Mark wilson and what he has been doing at Lindenwood is the very grassroots of what could elevate pool in America.
Colleges... brilliant. Hype the rivalries. Same convo as the charities gig as far as community involvement.
  
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06-21-2018, 02:36 PM

A well thought out reply. Years ago there was an article posted here about pool in the Olympics and we were instructed to read the comments. Most of the comments were from people outside of the pool world. To them pool was just a bar game like the other games you mentioned and not a sport. That is the image of pool now and it is that "old school pool" image that keeps pool away from getting any corporate support.

People also said we need the young players involved. If I am a parent, I wouldn't let my kids get anywhere near a "seedy classic pool hall."


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06-21-2018, 02:41 PM

Virtually not a single 9 footer left to play on in slc, meanwhile these guys have built a GIANT league in a matter of about a decade catering specifically to millennials.

Beehivesports.com

The main poolhall in Salt Lake City Big Willies is also a home bar for some of the teams in this league. I’d be shocked if he made as much money off the pool side as he does with the crowds this league brings in from BEAN BAG TOSS LEAGUE!??

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06-21-2018, 02:44 PM

That's a good point Russ although I think the advanced home gaming systems is more to blame for the lack of arcades/pool rooms. I actually got into pool as a young adult because I went to a pool room to play video games and became friends with players there.
  
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06-21-2018, 02:58 PM

Whilst I do understand some of the doom and gloom, I think these things come in cycles.

Everything mentioned so far is valid, rents (thats globally now, all major cities really in the developed world), video games, time and the cost of living, all these factors and more contribute...but...

Snooker was dying, then Barry Hearn came along
Darts wasn't anything like it is now (with GBP 500k to the WC winner), but the Phil Taylor factor (and of course Barry Hearn masterminding things completely changed the game (into a professional sport)
Golf benefited massively from the Tiger Woods factor (not that it was in the state pool was in, but he took it forward)
Tennis currently has 3 of the most talented players ever, when they retire who knows what could happen?

My point is in time someone, or a group of players (e.g. Williams/O'Sullivan/Higgins in snooker terms) may come along and inspire a new generation, perhaps it will be 9-Ball, maybe 14.1 maybe even Chinese 8-Ball...who knows...but in time (and especially if Barry Hearn is involved...which he is) things may change for the better!
  
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06-21-2018, 04:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by KAP1976 View Post
Seriously

Honest question.

If I'm a 16-year-old, and I didn't grow up around the game, what motivation do I have to pick it up?
I really cant tell you.Everybody I know that is a die hard was mesmerized the first time they hit a ball and have had to do it ever since...I think the neat thing is the creativity of running a rack out and the way everybodies personality comes out in their game.I like how hard it is to get better.I like the ebbs and flows of a game when two equal shooters battle.
  
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06-21-2018, 05:33 PM

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Originally Posted by briankenobi View Post
A well thought out reply. Years ago there was an article posted here about pool in the Olympics and we were instructed to read the comments. Most of the comments were from people outside of the pool world. To them pool was just a bar game like the other games you mentioned and not a sport. That is the image of pool now and it is that "old school pool" image that keeps pool away from getting any corporate support.

People also said we need the young players involved. If I am a parent, I wouldn't let my kids get anywhere near a "seedy classic pool hall."

My Dad absolutely hated that I loved playing pool.

There I was, a teenager, heading out late at night to seedy classic pool halls, like Cochran's and The Palace, in downtown San Francisco. There, I'd mostly watch but occassionally play all those guys that populated the roster labeled Pool Hall Habituťs of the Night.

I was in college and one day my Dad asked to see my pool cue. It was one of those Adams cues with white Irish linen at the ends of the grip and black linen in the middle. It also had a needle sharp joint pin. After holding it in his hands for a few minutes he said, "This would come in handy if you ever need to defend yourself." My Dad was a practical kind of guy and knew I was going to do whatever I was going to do.

Flash forward several years and I graduated from college and was commissioned an officer in the Air Force.

A few years later, while I was stationed at Torrejon AB, just outside of Madrid, I hear that the Rec Center is holding a base level tournament to send two guys to the Mediterranean Championship at Aviano AB in Italy. I got in, ran 75 and out in the finals, and went to Italy. I had to wait for Space-A travel back to my home base and was to learn it was Carnivale in Venice, a short train trip away, and myself and our 2nd place guy went, saw Venice, and had a ball.

I had won the Med Championship and then a few months later went on to Ramstein AB in Germany for the European Championships. I finished 2nd that year and, while I waited for C-130 transport back home, found out it was Ocktoberfest in Munich and that I could catch a bus from the base for an overnight trip. Me and the other guy signed up, watched the parade, and drank beer until it was coming out our ears.

I called my Dad from Munich, telling him where I was. It is one of my fondest memories to hear him sound so tickled that my love for pool had taken me to places he'd never dreamed of.

Soooo, I wouldn't worry about the seedy classic pool halls. Just worry about your kids and how you bring them up. They'll do fine.

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Boring to the layman.
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Boring to the layman. - 06-27-2018, 08:13 AM

It is my humble opinion that part of the drop in pools popularity is that frankly it is boring to watch Pro's compete to anyone outside of pool.
We can marvel at the impressive shot-making and cue control of the Pro's but to most lay people pool is boring. Sadly trick-shots are way more interesting to the average Joe than watching pro's break and run.
With intense competition from the variety of sport, games, and social media for our eyeballs only the hardcore fan is left to follow pool.
The good news is that the league side of pool is still growing and that can hopefully create more fans.

On a side note: We lament the fate of our American team in the Mosconi Cup and try changing coaches, captains, etc. but we have not tried emulating the Mosconi formats in qualifier tournaments preparing our side for TEAM competition. If a promoter created such an event in my area I would definitely pay to attend.


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06-27-2018, 08:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rackem & Weep View Post
It is my humble opinion that part of the drop in pools popularity is that frankly it is boring to watch Pro's compete to anyone outside of pool.
We can marvel at the impressive shot-making and cue control of the Pro's but to most lay people pool is boring. Sadly trick-shots are way more interesting to the average Joe than watching pro's break and run.
With intense competition from the variety of sport, games, and social media for our eyeballs only the hardcore fan is left to follow pool.
The good news is that the league side of pool is still growing and that can hopefully create more fans.

On a side note: We lament the fate of our American team in the Mosconi Cup and try changing coaches, captains, etc. but we have not tried emulating the Mosconi formats in qualifier tournaments preparing our side for TEAM competition. If a promoter created such an event in my area I would definitely pay to attend.
Golf is unwatchable by most who don't play as well but does very well when it comes to prize money, TV revenue, sponsorship and visibility. Boring isn't the issue. The difference is that golf is a popular participation sport for rich and not so rich alike (not huge with the poor). Pool will thrive if and when it becomes more popular and has a higher participation rate with the general public.

A bunch of new APA leagues and such will help but a few tables in every country club that become what those golfers do in the winter would also help. A TV event sponsored by some online cue seller is nice but the target should be watch companies, investment firms and car companies.

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06-27-2018, 08:34 AM

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Originally Posted by logical View Post
Golf is unwatchable by most who don't play as well but does very well when it comes to prize money, TV revenue, sponsorship and visibility. Boring isn't the issue. The difference is that golf is a popular participation sport for rich and not so rich alike (not huge with the poor). Pool will thrive if and when it becomes more popular and has a higher participation rate with the general public.

A bunch of new APA leagues and such will help but a few tables in every country club that become what those golfers do in the winter would also help. A TV event sponsored by some online cue seller is nice but the target should be watch companies, investment firms and car companies.

I thought the same thing about the Country Clubs, it seemed like a no brainer because I know people in that business in Toledo. I have tried to get them in 2 different Country Clubs, one of which I restored a 9' GC3 for their Golf Pro, he proposed it and the higher ups said NO... One of the guys that I have been playing league with for close to 10 years is in management at the other Country Club and they said NO as well...

I am not sure why it did not work????

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06-27-2018, 08:35 AM

I agree it goes in cycles. It is also about TV and it never took off like many of us would have hoped. Nine ball everyone said was exciting for TV and would help the sport explode. Nineball is exciting for those of us who play but the average guy who plays some eight ball in his local bar or bowling alley does not have much interest in nineball. They only know eightball they can relate to watching that game but most of what is on TV is nineball. It is also about player personality, nobody wants to watch some pro crying like a baby over every bad roll, or saying moronic things every time someone interviews them. They don't want to watch these people and they don't want to hang out with them.

Efren Reyes was the Tiger Woods of our generation and did represent the class and dignity our sport is missing. But since he didn't speak english he never got the cross culture superstardom he deserved. Most people outside the pool world have no idea who he was. How sad is that? What pool needs is a charismatic personality who plays like Reyes and is funny and interesting like Minnesota Fats. People will watch that. But he or she better come soon or lots of Brunswick gold crowns will end up being turned into fancy eating tables.
  
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06-27-2018, 05:06 PM

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Originally Posted by logical View Post
Golf is unwatchable by most who don't play as well but does very well when it comes to prize money, TV revenue, sponsorship and visibility.
Golf doesn't seem all that boring to me, and I don't play it at all. The golf broadcasts take the same tact as the poker broadcasts.. They switch back and forth in between dramatic moments, where a player's fortunes may swing wildly back and forth. And everyone understands the weight of a player trying to win his first major (or his tenth), and the pressure that comes from being even for the lead and facing a tough par save.

And on top of that, everyone understands that a player's fate is pretty much in their own hands out on the golf course. Whereas a finals in pool can be very one-sided if the balls rolls in a specific player's direction..

There's very little comparison of drama levels between pool and golf. In pool, often there is only drama to one shot per rack, and often, after the break, there is zero drama. In golf, every shot is a potential disaster (or a potential lifesaver) when two players are jockeying for the lead. And the difference between the games is, I don't have to know much about golf to understand the importance of certain shots, where in pool, often anyone below A speed would struggle to understand the most important shot on the table.

That's just my opinion on it.

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Where is Bill Nye when you need him?
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Where is Bill Nye when you need him? - 07-17-2018, 12:51 PM

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm still waiting for the promised "Science" portion if this discussion.


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