View Full Version : WPBA Television Improvement Ideas(LONG)

05-28-2002, 06:25 PM
An open letter to the WPBA about improving the television product.

Here are just a few ideas I feel could be looked into in order to improve the product currently being broadcast, and with that, hope to improve ratings and advertising revenue.

Time Slot/ESPN: The WPBA is already paying through the noses for their programming time on ESPN. Why not pay a little more and get on a network that will at least treat the product with some respect. Having matches shown whenever ESPN needs to fill space does no good for the WPBA; many sitcoms in the past have lost their fan base because the network frequently moved their timeslot. For example, if I want to watch The Simpsons, I know I need to turn the T.V. to channel 2 at 7pm on Sunday, if I wish to watch bowling I need to turn to channel 5 at 10am on Sunday. With the WPBA, if I wish to watch I need to turn ESPN on and leave it running all week in hopes of catching some pool. The last three occasions that I have tuned in to watch your product at the scheduled time it had been pre-empted by other programming. Hardcore fans of the product might be willing to search out the matches but casual viewers will not. Casual viewers are what the product needs to flourish, even survive perhaps.

Balls: Invest in a set of specially coloured balls for T.V. use. Make the balls that appear very close in colour on the screen much different than each other.

Announcers: Nothing turns fans away faster than bad announcers. Don't hire someone just because they are married to someone high up in the organization. In the standard broadcast format get someone who at least has a bit of idea about the game for the broadcast position, and the colour commentary role should be filled by someone who is extremely knowledgeable about the game. Call Jay Helfert, he might do it. There are a lot of people who would do a good job; they just need to be found.

Cameramen: Someone teach these guys, as well as the director what is needed to be seen. Don't show a close up of the pocket when the white ball is going to travel 3 rails for shape. Or when the announcer is questioning if a ball passes or not, this would be a good time to show this angle. There are special cameramen for golf; perhaps pool needs their own too. Unrealistic perhaps, but teaching these guys a little beforehand would not hurt.

Excitement: Pool is not exciting to most people, never has and never will be. You will never capture the 18-35 demographic with pool. So don't even try. Just because the fans cheer like a game winning field goal has been kicked after every shot, does not mean it is exciting. If anything it makes the fans look silly, as well as the organization, especially when the player has made a bad shot and the fans go wild. Same goes with the player intros. I like Karen Corr, but she looks silly when you make her run out high fiveing everyone in the front row. Just the look on her face tells people that she does not want to do it. Let her walk out and wave to the crowd, or whatever she feels like doing. Pool is a patient mans game and should be promoted that way. Here is an idea. Next time a safety battle breaks out, why not show it instead of leaving it on the cutting room floor. You might be surprised. The same with strategy. Even on a push out there is a tremendous amount of strategy going on. This is where Helfert would be so good. He can talk for hours just about where to place push outs.

Commercials: One example given, and it is the only one needed. During a recent broadcast Allison Fischer ran a rack out. The WPBA cut to commercial, after returning from the break Allison broke the balls, made the 1ball then the 2ball and then made a 3-9 combo. The entire rack took less than a minute, and then the WPBA cut to another commercial. At this point, my T.V. was shut off. I'm certain I was not the only one.

Editing: Showing half a rack and then cutting to a player interview, then coming back to show the player making the 9ball is just silly. Pool has a flow that is hard to capture, even harder when you are more interested in finding out about Jennifer Chen's modelling career in a 30 second clip, rather than how she got shape from the 7 to 8. Now that I think about it, I am interested in her modelling career; anyone got a link to pics.

Production values: Here is a hint, find the phone number of whoever produces the WPC or is in charge of Embassy World Snooker. Get them a plane ticket over here and learn from them. Pool on T.V. is relatively new, Snooker broadcasts have years of experience, and it shows. Why make the same mistakes they did?

Smart fans: There are two types of fans, hardcore fans who understand the nuances of the game and casual fans who like to see balls pushed in holes. Instead of catering to the casual fans by dumbing down the product, why not try and elevate the knowledge of these fans. Once again, announcers who can explain in depth about what is being done would be a great asset here, instead of announcers talking about how pretty someone's wife is. Perhaps while the balls are being racked you could go to a pre taped segment called "The Professors Pit" Say for example Allison just made a jump shot in the previous rack, you show a replay of her shot and then go to a 30 second clip of Grady showing you how a jump shot is executed. I'm sure if you let him plug his newest video he would do it.

That's all I have for now folks. I look forward to your replies.


05-28-2002, 06:48 PM
I've been missing your posts.

05-28-2002, 06:56 PM
Krusty, all good points, and many are the reasons I don't watch them anymore.

No excitement.. we usually know the results prior to the broadcasts anyway.. and very poor commentary.

The only way they could improve these matches is to make them LIVE... with looser of the previous match, doing the commentating..

05-28-2002, 08:29 PM
Welcome Back Krusty!!! I thought we scared you away. Excellant post, very nice ideas. Another thing you might want to consider is those abysmal player bios. You know, the thirty second clip when Mitch asks Allison/Karen how they feel about coming from the winners/losers side? It's pathetic. How are the non-pool fanatics ever going to care about these women if they never get a sense of who they really are? We all know about the pool, what else do these girls do? What are they passionate about? That's what makes people interesting, finding what fuels thier passions. I mean, if you're on a date, and your partner tells you all the stupid details of thier job, are you interested? If you're on a date with someone who tells you how they spent a year scuba diving in Australia, that's a different story, isn't it?
Krusty, if you could share your opinion with Barbara on her current WPBA dilemma I'd be interested in hearing what you have to say. Nice to have you back, don't worry us like that again!

Ralph S.
05-28-2002, 09:10 PM
Krusty, welcome back from your hiatus. All the points you have made are very good and have been echoed here for some time now. I think the only way we will see some results is if the board members of the WPBA take off their blinders.
Ralph S.

05-28-2002, 09:41 PM
I think the only way that would happen is if Christ walked the Earth again. The WPBA needs to stop hiring PLAYERS to run their BUSINESS.

05-29-2002, 02:07 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Lorri:</font><hr> Welcome Back Krusty!!! I thought we scared you away. <blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>

Scared away, highly doubtful. I just had to go and do a few thousand push-ups and run a couple hundred miles. How was your work week.:)


05-29-2002, 06:16 AM
Pool on tv seems hopeless to me...
Even just the game they are playing is all wrong (9ball!!!)
And then all those other problems...
why is there need for an explosive break (lol) and why does it have to be fast paced with a lot of action? yeah right 9ball is as boring as it gets...

Fred Agnir
05-29-2002, 06:40 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Tom_In_Cincy:</font><hr>.. and very poor commentary.
The only way they could improve these matches is to make them LIVE... with looser of the previous match, doing the commentating..<hr></blockquote>
I still consider the Last Call for 9-ball (or was it the World Championship) in 1985 (or so)in Atlantic City (I'm pretty sure) the best televised pool tournament. The cloth was camel with "Atlantic City" on it. I could have done without the plug, but the camel color seemed to be a plus for TV. Anyway Sigel beats Varner in the finals. The commentary was done by the loser of the previous match, Atlantic City's Josť Garcia. I think Jim Rempe did the commentary for the previous Garcia/Varner match. Although Rempe's grammar could have been better, the idea that two different professionals had similar takes on the game *but* dissimilar color commentary styles made the viewing very exciting.

Of course, it could be that this was just some of the early televised pool that was getting me excited about the game to begin with. Maybe the overall production was terrible and I'm just reminiscing.

It seems to me that during the Challenge of Champions a couple of years ago, there was some ESPN announcer that obviously knew something about the game but was a professional announcer. What happened to him? (And I don't mean Barry Tompkins)


05-29-2002, 07:03 AM
And those are the reasons that I would not pay to watch pool on cable tv. But you have to remember that they only have 60 minutes to show the match. 4 minutes are taken up for the introduction and the presentation of the award at the end. Then there is about 7 minutes of commercials per half hour so they really only have about 42 minutes to show the match. And then you have to believe that the producers and WPBA want to change anything. Afterall, if they change they would be out of work and they seem to have a pretty good gig going for themselves right now. And now it seems evident that the WPBA is going to go back to the 48 member format thereby ensuring status quo among the top 20 - 30. It is a closed shop, just the way they want it. Allison and Karen, and Vivian and Lee are carrying the show and all the rest are riding on their coat tails. If Allison and Karen dropped out I seriously doubt that there would be any pool on TV. Jake

05-29-2002, 07:03 PM
AH, you know, couple hundred sit-ups, a few thousand drills, do the dishes, cook the dinner, wash the kid, mow the lawn, etc. Sheesh, the military is looking better and better!

05-29-2002, 07:08 PM
I always thought that the two hour Camel matches on MSG network were pretty good. As I recall, Rempe, Varner and Incardona were regular commentators, and the two hour format allowed almost every, if not every shot to be shown. I used to freak if someone screwed with the VCR when that was supposed to be taping. ( Sometimes I'd call in sick to stay home and watch it!)