SJM Sizes Up the Matchroom 2021 US Open

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Great write up as usual Stu! I love that you take the time to let us know how it really was being there.

Since when did you become a "gambler?" That is news to me. Are you a card counter at Blackjack or just another Pit degenerate? I want to hear about your wild and crazy side!

Sounds like $200 for six days of great pool is a bargain, but I'd like to know how much it really cost you to see this event. Travel cost, lodging, food prices and restaurant choices at Harrahs, etc.

I have to agree with Jam that being maskless in that environment would be a big turnoff for me unless I knew everyone there was vaccinated. And I'm very surprised that you especially were not being more careful. Masks were mandatory at the recent World Ten Ball at the Rio in Vegas and hotel security was strict about enforcing it. That was a good thing imo. I am going next month to the World Series of Poker at the Rio and ALL players must be vaccinated to play, and show proof of vaccination before being allowed to register. Otherwise I wouldn't be going. Spectators must all be masked and will be kept some distance from the players.

I agree with you that Matchroom is up to good things as far as Pro Pool is concerned, although I still don't get why an event that is played in the United States is not being shown on one of the myriad cable sports networks that are based here, and is being shown on free TV all over Europe and Asia. I see this as a slight against American fans, or an attempt to ensure they will get a live gate since local pool fans can't watch it on TV. You say you want to build pro pool in America, then put it on TV here! Let's put it in front of the masses of sports fans and see if they prefer pool to cornhole! Pool won't grow here until more people (then those who buy it on DAZN) are able to see these great players in action.

Pool needs viewing by large television audiences to ever grow as a professional sport in America! Otherwise no one knows it's even happening here, other than a few thousand hardcore fans like you Stu! It makes one think that Matchroom is growing pool as a sport for European and Asian markets and only using the USA as a base to do that. How many young American kids are going to take up pool as opposed to other sports if they are unaware there are professional tournaments they can play in, that aren't being shown on TV here? One might think that this is a strategy and not an accident. More and more all the top players are coming from foreign shores where they are watching these tournaments unfold in real time. Not so here, where sports minded kids have no idea there is even a pro pool event going on. And people on here question why we have no new young American players coming up in our sport. How about if a million kids here took up the game seriously instead of a few hundred!

Okay, I'm done with my rant. Carry on with all the fun and games.

I realize that I was very critical in my post above, but if there was only a way for the kids in America to see the same coverage that SkySports provided on a daily basis to the kids in Europe and Asia that would be wonderful imo. I think it would give a boost to seeing more poolrooms open here and get more young people playing this great game. When they see that there is money to be won (not golf money, but money nonetheless), that will only give them added incentive to pursue the game, along with their receiving parental consent and encouragement.

I have seen all my life that kids love to play pool, but with no reward being offered and a questionable reputation affixed to it, pool is not the choice of sports that many parents will encourage. Given a chance to see tournaments like this one on TV and watch the players who excel at the game might change that dynamic, and cause more young people to pick up a cue and hit the tables. JMHO as always.
 
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JAM

Professional Railbird
Silver Member
I realize that I was very critical in my post above, but if there was only a way for the kids in America to see the same coverage that SkySports provided on a daily basis to the kids in Europe and Asia that would be wonderful imo. I think it would give a boost to seeing more poolrooms open here and get more young people playing this great game. When they see that there is money to be won (not golf money, but money nonetheless), that will only give them added motivation to pursue the game, along with their receiving parental consent and encouragement.

I have seen all my life that kids love to play pool, but with no reward being offered and a questionable reputation affixed to it, pool is not the choice of sports that many parents will encourage. Given a chance to see tournaments like this one on TV and watch the players who excel at the game might change that dynamic, and cause more young people to pick up a cue and hit the tables. JMHO as always.

Along those lines, if Matchroom get coverage by SkySports, it would help American pool if they could come to an agreement with ESPN.

I was told (hearsay) that a couple decades ago, ESPN came to Maryland for a one-pocket tournament, and during a match between two big-name pool super stars, who shall remain unnamed, ESPN packed their equipment up and left in the middle of their match because it was so boring.

My neighbor works for sports with ABC, and I was asking him how pool could get more of a present on media in USA, and he said a big-name star or some media attention in that way would help. I think this is what Matchroom did when they brought Judd Trump to this US Open. Though probably not many in USA know who Judd Trump is, many in Europe may because snooker is so popular in that continent compared to USA.

The production quality by Matchroom is exactly what needs to happen on American TV for it to attract interest, but DAZN just doesn't cut the mustard. The broadcast cut out in the middle of a match with Oi at the Open this week. WTH, man! I guess DAZN is affordable and willing to broadcast pool for Matchroom, which does get coverage in USA, so we're stuck with it. I have a feeling, though I do not know this for certain, that Matchroom may be locked into a contract with DAZN and cannot broadcast pool through another entity at this time. Who is DAZN, anyway? I'd never heard of them until Matchroom found them.

Anyway, that's my thought to agree with Jay on getting pool covered in USA to attract more interest, young and old.
 

telinoz

Registered
The Matchroom live stream on Youtube for table 2, never had any onscreen graphics for player name and scores.
Which was pointed out in live comments every single time and was never addressed by Matchroom.
I have seen live streams on home tables that manage this simple task, so I was amazed Matchroom could not sort it out.
That was the only negative aspect for me.

The tournament was broad and well contested, being a big Snooker fan I was happy to see Judd there and I knew they would announce another big tournament in Europe, which turned out to be the British open in May next year.

Plenty of time to address the streaming issue and get other feedback.
They need to stick to tight tables though, these are professional tournaments after all and like Snooker it should be standardised for Pro events.
 

Astrolabus

New member
Obviously, I am not in a position to comment on the TV and stream product offered during the event. As for the TV issue, I'd love to know the extent to which Judd Trump's participation jacked up the ratings. What a polished, classy young man he is, and we can only hope that some snooker fans tuned into pool because of his participation.
I don’t think there is any doubt snooker fans followed how Judd got on. There are always “extreme” opinions, but let’s just say the more realistic view was that he would loose when he came up a top ranked player, which is exactly what happened.

After he went out I still followed the tournament, and did catch the end of the final which I thought was a excellent game. Comparing to the World championships not sure but I think the matches were a little longer (although I might be miss remembering) for most rounds, which I thought gave the event more prestige.

I see a UK version has been announced , which I think being in the off season for snooker will attract a lot of snooker players, and UK pool players.

However I believe that both games require 100% dedication, so in some ways I don’t want to see the top players accidentally loose focus on snooker, nonetheless I would love to see the likes of Trump, Selby and other top players try there hand just to see how deep they can go.
 

JAM

Professional Railbird
Silver Member
I did a Google search and learned that DAZN was launched in 2016 and is currently available in nine countries. The company is owned by Russian-American billionaire Len Blavatnik, who has a net worth of $25.5 billion. DAZN is a "global sports media," with 2,400 employees in 25 countries, home to the world's largest, fastest-growing sports streaming service. I guess Matchroom Multi Sport and Barry Hearn's son Eddie's expertise and devotion to boxing, DAZN seemed like a good fit for pool as a sport. Plus, I'm sure the price is right compared to what it would cost to broadcast pool in ESPN. DAZN is better than nothing, but it sure isn't ideal for the avid pool fan in USA.
 

calcuttaman

Pool Player
Silver Member
The biggest problem with the arena was that the air was unusually cold, and this was a problem which upset fans and players alike.

If you don't have the ac set pretty cold (Guessing it was sub 70°) you run the risk of humidity making the cloth very loose. And once it gets loose because of the humidity its not an easy fix.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
If you don't have the ac set pretty cold (Guessing it was sub 70°) you run the risk of humidity making the cloth very loose. And once it gets loose because of the humidity its not an easy fix.
Interesting and I didn't know that. Nonetheless, I've attended pro events for 45 years and I've never been in a venue that was this cold. At least one player complained to me that having cold hands negatively impacted his play by reducing his feel. If a cool room was necessary, that's fine, but this was just too cold.
 

skogstokig

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I did a Google search and learned that DAZN was launched in 2016 and is currently available in nine countries. The company is owned by Russian-American billionaire Len Blavatnik, who has a net worth of $25.5 billion. DAZN is a "global sports media," with 2,400 employees in 25 countries, home to the world's largest, fastest-growing sports streaming service. I guess Matchroom Multi Sport and Barry Hearn's son Eddie's expertise and devotion to boxing, DAZN seemed like a good fit for pool as a sport. Plus, I'm sure the price is right compared to what it would cost to broadcast pool in ESPN. DAZN is better than nothing, but it sure isn't ideal for the avid pool fan in USA.

TV in general is losing ground to streaming platforms. netflix, prime, hbo, etc. sports will be going the same way. i used to watch snooker on eurosport cable, now i watch it on the player on which i can pick and choose what table to watch.
 

Fatboy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I realize that I was very critical in my post above, but if there was only a way for the kids in America to see the same coverage that SkySports provided on a daily basis to the kids in Europe and Asia that would be wonderful imo. I think it would give a boost to seeing more poolrooms open here and get more young people playing this great game. When they see that there is money to be won (not golf money, but money nonetheless), that will only give them added incentive to pursue the game, along with their receiving parental consent and encouragement.

I have seen all my life that kids love to play pool, but with no reward being offered and a questionable reputation affixed to it, pool is not the choice of sports that many parents will encourage. Given a chance to see tournaments like this one on TV and watch the players who excel at the game might change that dynamic, and cause more young people to pick up a cue and hit the tables. JMHO as always.
American media is garbage. Absolute trash. I haven’t watched TV here in 12-13 years. Refuse to.
 

TheBasics

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Interesting and I didn't know that. Nonetheless, I've attended pro events for 45 years and I've never been in a venue that was this cold. At least one player complained to me that having cold hands negatively impacted his play by reducing his feel. If a cool room was necessary, that's fine, but this was just too cold.
Howdy All;

Temp. and humidity are difficult to balance. Y'all were having a lot of rain and storms right up to and probably
during the beginning of the week. The units on the roof have to suck the damp outta the air and the air handling units
move the air. The moving air combined with the humidity creates the 'extra' coolness ya felt. Think about the
Swamp coolers we use here in the desert. We need to pump humidity into the moving air to get the cooling effect.
Y'all had a kinda hybrid cooling effect going on there. Had the storms not dumped so much rain on the area it
would have been better. So, just one of those 'things' as they say. Me I'd have enjoyed the extra coolness, YO!

hank
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
Howdy All;

Temp. and humidity are difficult to balance. Y'all were having a lot of rain and storms right up to and probably
during the beginning of the week. The units on the roof have to suck the damp outta the air and the air handling units
move the air. The moving air combined with the humidity creates the 'extra' coolness ya felt. Think about the
Swamp coolers we use here in the desert. We need to pump humidity into the moving air to get the cooling effect.
Y'all had a kinda hybrid cooling effect going on there. Had the storms not dumped so much rain on the area it
would have been better. So, just one of those 'things' as they say. Me I'd have enjoyed the extra coolness, YO!

hank
Thanks for the education.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
I did a Google search and learned that DAZN was launched in 2016 and is currently available in nine countries. The company is owned by Russian-American billionaire Len Blavatnik, who has a net worth of $25.5 billion. DAZN is a "global sports media," with 2,400 employees in 25 countries, home to the world's largest, fastest-growing sports streaming service. I guess Matchroom Multi Sport and Barry Hearn's son Eddie's expertise and devotion to boxing, DAZN seemed like a good fit for pool as a sport. Plus, I'm sure the price is right compared to what it would cost to broadcast pool in ESPN. DAZN is better than nothing, but it sure isn't ideal for the avid pool fan in USA.
25 Billion, 2,400 employees and they can't professionally broadcast a realitvely simple sport like pool. There are several pool streaming services operating on a regular basis here that do a far superior job with much more limited resources. Perhaps it's time for Matchroom to pull the plug on DAZN and find someone else who can do justice to these important tournaments. I don't see our sport progressing here with these inferior quality productions. In other words get someone in there who cares to do it right! DAZN appears to be about signing up subscribers as their first and last priority.
 

Vahmurka

...and I get all da rolls
Silver Member
Speaking of TV time for pool being sought of, I wonder whether TV audiences in the US are still bigger than that of YouTube? The way I see it, nowadays to get wider coverage one has got to forget TV broadcasts and drive to the Web. Install a PPV model at some respected and advanced platform, and no more 'dazns' or else.
 

Vahmurka

...and I get all da rolls
Silver Member
One of the things which confused me and got puzzled on the way the tournament is run, was Runouts statistics at cuescore service. Many matches got me thinking there might have not been an ipad operator/scorekeeper/whoever. There were enough matches which could have not ended without a single runout (a circle with R and a number in the brackets), yet according to the stats they were.
I guess it could be possible only if in these particular matches the players were left alone and doing the score, etc. by themselves, omitting the runouts. If this is the case, it diminishes the overall value of this runouts statistics in my eyes, as it does not provide a full picture.
 

AtLarge

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I watched most of the coverage over the 6 days and I’d echo the sentiments that it was a great, well run event.

... I just cannot stand Phil Yates. It’s just one over the top cliche or bad pun after another with him. Matchroom has proven that they can assemble an all star cast of commentators between nick, JJ, Karl, and jayson so I don’t think Yates is needed.
I kind of enjoy Phil's attempts at bon mots. We certainly don't need two JJ's on a match; Phil brings interesting background information, good knowledge of another cue sport, and some sort of weird accent.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
The Stu report is in! As always we get the straight skinny. Some good feedback from Jay and some others too. A little sweet, a little sour, makes the mix tasty!

Thank you for your efforts Stu. You add a lot more to AZB than match reports but match reports alone from your perspective would be enough to make you an AZB treasure!

Hu
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
The Stu report is in! As always we get the straight skinny. Some good feedback from Jay and some others too. A little sweet, a little sour, makes the mix tasty!
Mostly sweet, Hu. For all my observations, the biggest picture is that Matchroom's commitment to continuing to improve and develop its professional pool product is on full display, and their exceptional productions continue to raise the bar for our sport.

It's no secret in these AZB parts that I'm Matchroom's biggest fan, but they have earned both my respect and my trust through their sustained excellence in delivering great events and growing the sport. I just hope fans, players and sponsors alike support them to the max as they diligently pave the way for better times in our sport.
 

Cameron Smith

is kind of hungry...
Silver Member
Although I agree the event would have been better served on ESPN, that would only be true if we got a similar broadcast to what we received. That is, daily full live sessions.

I don’t think pool is well served by the heavily edited 40 minute filler programming that we had previously been accustomed to. Although I think the game has suffered by the absence of those edited broadcasts, I don’t think it does much to grow the game either.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
25 Billion, 2,400 employees and they can't professionally broadcast a realitvely simple sport like pool. There are several pool streaming services operating on a regular basis here that do a far superior job with much more limited resources. Perhaps it's time for Matchroom to pull the plug on DAZN and find someone else who can do justice to these important tournaments. I don't see our sport progressing here with these inferior quality productions. In other words get someone in there who cares to do it right! DAZN appears to be about signing up subscribers as their first and last priority.
I confess that I hadn't watched the matches on DAZN and only reacted to what was being said here about the spotty and inconsistent coverage, with freqents drops in the feed. Tonight I watched the 25 minute highlight video of the final match. My observations were that the commentary and dialogue between Jeremy and Nick was first class. Phil Yates was not needed other than to hype up things between racks. I can see why he is included though, for the high energy little bits he throws in from time to time. Plus he's a big name commentator in the UK.

The camera work was good as well, but I look forward to the day when a director realizes that the overhead camera only detracts from the show. I think they see this camera being used on other pool shows and think it's a must, and it's not! I guess I've said this a million times now. The overhead camera is a one dimensional look at a three dimensional game. And DAZN used it over and over again to excess. The other cameras tell the story just fine, and that flat look from overhead is not necessary or beneficial. Get rid of it please! I've always believed that this camera is the director's crutch when he is unsure of what camera to use.

John Leyman was his ever present self throughout the match, attentive to the players at all times. He does somehow manage to be on camera almost as much as they are. What I like is that John is not bashful about letting people know what is going on, be it a push out, a foul or simply stating the score. You can hear him just fine on camera and that's a good thing. No ambiguity there.

Probably the best thing is that with a stream like this, you get to watch an entire match, with nothing left out. I hated the edited shows that we used to see on ESPN. All good here. Now if we can just find a way to get this in front of more people in this country that would be great. I'm just not sure that DAZN is the vehicle to do it. Putting the final days matches (semis and finals) on a more popular network would be a big plus imo.
 
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sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
John Leyman was his ever present self throughout the match, attentive to the players at all times. He does somehow manage to be on camera almost as much as they are. What I like is that John is not bashful about letting people know what is going on, be it a push out, a foul or simply stating the score. You can hear him just fine on camera and that's a good thing. No ambiguity there.
Not evaluating the officiating was an oversight on my part. John did a great job as both referee and tournament director. He is vocal, but speaks with clarity when it is needed and keeps things moving along. All referees on the stream table did a nice job.

John caught a little flak from some when he mistakenly called a shot clock expiration foul on Shane at one point, but the call was corrected, and in the end, that's what matters.

As I've said in the past, the highest compliment that one can pay to an officiating crew is that they blended in, and that was the case at the US Open. Thanks to all of them.
 
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