View Full Version : Explanation of Pro Merchandise Signing Agreement
To fans and all who are concerned,
I&#8217;ve been reading the posts on the forums and I have decided to give some more explanations because it seems some people are getting mislead and there are some facts being miscontorted.
I have kept silent for awhile because I do not want to start any arguments or fires, I just want to clarify my position.
This was my exact announcement at my event: I announced that there were 9 pros that would sign autographs but not sign merchandise items such as cues, cases, balls,etc.
I also announced that they would be happy to sign anything else such as pictures, magazines,stickers, paper, etc. and they did sign those items for free to many fans.
I also explained in several seperate announcements why we were doing this and that was because many people abuse this privilege by getting the pros autograph and then selling it to other people. At the Patriot Cup many fans brought 5-8 cueballs and shirts, etc all at one time for us to sign. It sometimes got a little out of hand and many players complained to me and I completely understood their position. The pros got no compensation and their name was being exploited to consumers who wouldn't have to pay for their autographs in the first place if they got the autograph themselves since it was actually free in the first place.
This was not my original idea but several pros brought up their concerns of fans abusing autographs for money and so this agreement was made before the event started in a UNANIMOUS decision by all 9 invited pros to not sign merchandise but they COULD sign anything else.
And the money made went to the players, the cost of the product, and to the charity. I made no profits off this(I even put back in my share of the merchandise cut -I was the host after all!). It just gave me more to give back to the players and thank them for coming to my small purse event and prevent autograph injustices.
I did announce several times that the pros would be happy to sign anything else, but perhaps I will have to announce that everytime so there are no mistakes. And perhaps we will have line-ups at autograph sessions (as suggested by others) to have fans pay a fee and then have items signed. And perhaps we will have free items for fans to get autographs. Whatever it is , I will try to find a balance.
Thanks for your voice,
nicely said charlie, btw, long time no see, sorry I didn't make your event, work has been slamming. I think you are right in your assumption of information getting twisted a little bit each time it's told to someone new. it shows some class on your part to bring your side of the story personally. good luck with everthing, and I as a player, appreciate your efforts to help pool move forward. ( even if you beat me all the time). take care charlie
06-07-2002, 01:33 PM
I understand the issue with the pro's and autographing merchandise. Over the years, I have collected pool balls autographed by players for my personal poolroom at home. Having these items is not necessarily for the autograph, but for the memory of the moment I met an idol of mine.
Something to consider for fans like myself, is to have an autographing session at your events where a fan can have merchandise autographed. I'd hate to see the price get out of hand, because I believe that it would only hurt the sport and the players. Remember, it's the fans who help create a living for the pro, even if it's not a profitable living.
Try different things and be creative as I know you can be and I'm sure you'll find a good mix. As a politician, which you are now, you have to satisfy the majority to measure your success. Satisfying everyone is impossible!!
06-09-2002, 12:30 AM
Any pro player in any sport that I support by spending my time and money to attend the event they are playing at that wants me to pay them to sign a cue ball, baseball, football or anything else can kiss my ass. Like poolfan above, I collect signed cue balls for memories of the events I went to and the players I admire that I saw there. I don't collect autographed merchandise to resell.
I sympathize with the fact that professional pool players don't make a lot of money, so I would probably just smile and walk away. However, my memory of them becomes tarnished, like when Jim Rempe told me this year that he gets one hundred dollars to sign a cue ball, though he would be pleased to sign anything else gratis. I will always remember that day that Jim Rempe told me he won't sign a cue ball for me because he's trying to keep the value of them at one hundred dollars, and I will probably root against him in any match I ever see him play at from now on, and readily tell anyone who cares the story of why.
If a professional athlete who makes more money in one year than most people make in a lifetime ever asked me to pay them to sign something, I would tell them what I think of them in a loud and clear voice. I'd be curious to see if they have the capacity to be embarrassed by their arrogance, pomposity, and greed.
I can only hope Charlie has the wisdom to change his position on this. Or is he like some of these other power crazy people who once they are in control believe they are always right and never change an opinon. I'm not saying Charlie is like that. But people like that are part of what is wrong with pool today.
06-09-2002, 01:41 AM
The last couple of posts seem to have missed a key point. Charlie did not lobby for this provision. The other 9 invited professionals agreed UNANIMOUSLY to not sign merchandise.
Jay M<-- knows and understands the reasons
06-09-2002, 06:56 AM
On no Jay. That picture. Is that what Patrick really looks like? Jake
06-09-2002, 08:21 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: TomBrooklyn:</font><hr>
My memory of them just becomes tarnished, like when Jim Rempe told me this year that he gets $100. to sign a cue ball. My memory of Jim Rempe for the rest of my life will be the day that he told me he won't sign a cue ball for me because he's trying to keep the value of them at one hundred dollars. I will root against him vigorously in any match I ever see him play at, and will readily tell anyone who cares why.
If he sells his autograph for $100 to others, then it would be unfair if he would give it for free to someone else.
Having been a past Pres. myself, and many times board member of the WPBA, I understand what you're up against and you have a very tough job to do. I'm glad to see that your association has it's priorities in the right place, and that is to look out for your players. That's what it's about.
You're going to have to make many tough decisions about what is and isn't appropriate and I would be very surprised if you didn't make mistakes along the way. It's part of the learning process.
While the players as a whole may feel a certain way towards signing autographs, this really isn't an area for your association to get involved in. Even if they all voted for the signing agreement you mentioned, each player should always be able to decide for themselves whether they wish to sign merchandise or not at any given time. Some have issues with their sponsors about that, and that is between the player and their sponsor. The ony area you need to be concerned with is having players sign merchandise for your assoiciation to sell and how you want to handle that with them.
Your intentions are in the right place as you're trying to protect your players, but keep in mind that you also have to protect the integrity of your association. Just like the PGA, if players don't like their autographs being bought and sold, they don't have to sign them. But that is an INDIVIDUAL decision that a player makes. What the players are trying to do in having you draw up a signing agreement with them is to not look like the bad guy. If your assoc. takes the brunt of the fan criticism, then the players are off the hook with the fans.
But these are the kind of negative things that make the association suffer. Put enough of these little issues together and it will hurt your tour. the end result is that it will hurt your players in the long-run if your tour is highly criticized.
I guess my point is that you have to be careful of short-sighted things that may seem to benefit your players now, but will hurt them in the long-run.
I really think you should consider dropping the marchandising autograph agreement.
All the best to you and your association.
06-09-2002, 09:22 AM
I think although Rempy should have had a better prepared answer, he was right. If I was the retailer selling his autographs merchandise and had a deal with him. I would not be happy seeing people getting stuff signed and selling it on ebay for what ever they can get. I go to the trade shows and there is always some guys running around with a whole box of balls trying to get them signed. These are not collectors, they are opportunists. Charlie should have a giveaway at each tournament such as a program for signing. Which by the way he can sell advertising in. A good looking girl, (sorry for seeming sexiest but that is the way it is) with a Polaroid camera taking your picture with a pro for a small fee would be very good also. They could even get it signed. There is a lot of ways to make it a real happening event for the paid spectator.
06-09-2002, 10:17 AM
Again I ask, how much money is in the Pool Player Autograph business? How many balls can Jim Rempe possibly sell at $100 a pop? I'm guessing not many. Is it really worth the animosity that this type of blatant greed generates? If he were to sign cue balls for free for anyone who wanted them, it would be far better for his sport and image in the long run, IMO. If the players would flood the market with autographed items it would destroy the market for them. If their true goal is to keep others from making money without the players getting paid, they should lower the value by increasing supply. This whole deal is very short-sighted. The UPA should be concentrating on building a fan base, showing the sponsors that they can draw people regularly and make their money through sponshorship and not nickel-and-diming fans for autographs. Again, JMHO.
06-09-2002, 01:40 PM
I don't believe the $100.00 figure anyway, but if he has a deal with a dealer for the balls he has to honor his end. Weather he makes much money off it, who knows. Should he continue to do it? You may be right, it is small time to say the least. It is his choice though and must be respected. I find it interesting you choose to use the word greed, for a person just trying to make a living, and not a very good one at that.
06-09-2002, 02:30 PM
"I find it interesting you choose to use the word greed, for a person just trying to make a living, and not a very good one at that."
Just trying to make a living is what nearly all of us do. Many of us make no more, if as much, and have far less appealing jobs.
I don't know if it's greed or a total lack of appreciation for one's fans. I can't imagine what would make a pro pool player think his autograph is worth $100 when people like Brett Farve, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Sammy Sosa, and John Force are signing for free. But I agree that the decision is theirs to make.
I have a very limited income. If I made the necessary sacrifices to go to an event where I could see the pros and one of the players that I idolized asked me for $100 for their autograph, I think they would have one less fan to say the least.
06-11-2002, 10:50 AM
Richard Petty was credited with being the most influential in the tremendous initial growth of Nascar. He understood the importance of fans. Fans are what attracted sponsors. Fans are what enabled him to make a living doing something he loved. He never turned down a fan for an autograph, and always had a broad smile for them. This helped make him a popular figure and made it easy for him to attract sponsors. Of course, his driving skills helped with both his popularity and sponsorship as well. He had the total package.
06-11-2002, 11:05 AM
I have been to a hundred tournaments and have never asked a pro for an autograph though i have spoken to many world champions. I just dont understand ADULTS bothering players for autographs.
06-11-2002, 11:12 AM
Nostroke...People have been enthralled with sports and entertainment idols for 100 yrs. There is nothing wrong with asking for autographs, as long as it doesn't interfere with the performance of the person being requested to sign!
Where it goes horribly wrong, is when money is entered into the equation...as in Rempe's reply about getting $100 to sign a CB. That's ridiculous, and I agree with Q-Guy, that it probably is erroneous. Even if true, he is not selling many, if ANY, at that price. Autograph hunting has never been a problem for most any celebrity, until the emergence of eBay, and other auction sites. I still say there is very little commercial opportunity in regards to pool memorabilia (with very few exceptions). JMO
06-11-2002, 11:18 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: stickman:</font><hr>Fans are what attracted sponsors. <hr></blockquote>
You hit the nail on the head, Stickman, and you don't attract fans by charging for autographs. A player can attract fans by playing well and freely giving autographs to those who want them. Maybe a hand shake and a kind word to others. Once a player has a large fan base, sponsors will pay more for that player to endorse their product.
Rich R.~~~NOT an autograph collector.
06-11-2002, 11:31 AM
Be enthralled all you want- Im entralled myself but as you say they arent worth anything in a monetary sense and if the only interaction with the player is a 2 second signing, what does it really symbolize? Nothing! So why bother?
I was standing next to Mika on the floor of the US Open where he had just seconds earlier been crushed by Corey Deuel. He was visibly stunned and bummed. Some moron comes right up to him with 12 Programs for him to sign. Now that didnt interfere with his game at all-was that right?
06-11-2002, 11:35 AM
Nostroke...In this case,I would agree with you. Bringing 12 of anything is going overboard. However, in this case, Mika could have/should have just said NO, and kept on walking. I still stand by my earlier response, that there is nothing wrong with fans seeking autographs, in most case scenarios.
06-11-2002, 11:53 AM
On second thought, I probably shouldn't believe the $100 figure either. If it is true however, I think that that IS blatant greed. I empathize with the pros and their inability to get paid on a level commensurate with their skills. And this generation of pool pros will probably never get what they (IMO) deserve as far as money goes. But, if they don't take a long term view, pool will never get there. Stickman gives a perfect example in Richard Petty. Drivers of his generation weren't the big stars that today's drivers are, but their dedication to building a fan base by catering to the fans helped make NASCAR what it is today.
IMO Charlie Williams and the UPA would be much better served by signing any thing and everything for everybody. Forego the few dollars now for increased exposure.
06-11-2002, 12:02 PM
He wasnt walking-He was just standing there stunned perhaps 90 seconds after the match. People were starting to console or congratulate him. Thankfully I was able to chase the guy away after one autograph.
Jay, I don't think anyone is missing the point. The point is that autographs were being sold. Plain and simple. They are all just voicing their opinions. Now, based on what you said and I quote:
The other 9 invited professionals agreed UNANIMOUSLY to not sign merchandise.
Were you in the room when this UNANIMOUS decision took place? Did this UNANIMOUS decision include all the players at the same time in a fashion that the players were not anonymous with their decision? The problem with this mentality that the players were UNANIMOUS is explained by Charlie Williams himself in another post. He states that some of the players did not want to feel like jerks if they did not want to give out the signatures for free (since the others were signing for free), so they just went ahead and signed. If the UNANIMOUS decision was made through an anonymous way, I truly believe the results would not have been UNANIMOUS. I am positive that some of the players would not have cared one bit about signing things, the problem was that they were presented with this particular way at the same time and so not to look like a jerk or outcast amongst those players, everyone agreed.
06-11-2002, 12:21 PM
If I were able to attend 100s of tournaments and see these guys often, maybe I wouldn't care about an autograph or photo with one of them. However, to the person who may only have one opportunity to meet a person that they very much look up to, an autograph or photo with the person is a nice rememberance. Personally, a photo with someone is worth more to me than an autograph.
06-11-2002, 12:32 PM
Actually what lets him make the living he does, is the ability to make money for other people. The same applies to movies and music. When a pool player can pitch an idea to a sponsor that will make them millions of dollars. They will be entitled to a generous cut also. Once you step back and view it from that perspective, you see why they will most likely never be in a position to make real money.
06-11-2002, 01:22 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Jay M:</font><hr> The other 9 invited professionals agreed UNANIMOUSLY to not sign merchandise.
Jay M<-- knows and understands the reasons <hr></blockquote>Hi Jay,
Have these reasons already been fully explained here, or do you know and understand the secret reasons? If the reasons are something other than what's already been explained, can you elaborate?
06-11-2002, 01:27 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: MikeM:</font><hr> Again I ask, how much money is in the Pool Player Autograph business? How many balls can Jim Rempe possibly sell at $100 a pop? I'm guessing not many. Is it really worth the animosity that this type of blatant greed generates? If he were to sign cue balls for free for anyone who wanted them, it would be far better for his sport and image in the long run, IMO. If the players would flood the market with autographed items it would destroy the market for them. If their true goal is to keep others from making money without the players getting paid, they should lower the value by increasing supply. This whole deal is very short-sighted. The UPA should be concentrating on building a fan base, showing the sponsors that they can draw people regularly and make their money through sponshorship and not nickel-and-diming fans for autographs. Again, JMHO.
MM <hr></blockquote>Hi Mike,
You've got it exactly.
I apologize for being redundant, but here's a copy of another post in another thread:
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>This brings up a good point. I watched a guy at Valley Forge approach every professional pool player he got within 40 feet of in order to get an autograph and picture. I could never be so bold. If there existed a professional tournament where the players put themselves out there for the sole purpose of pictures and autographs, I believe people would make an effort to attend. It would be nice to have a few special pictures and signed cue balls for the home pool room.
If UPA would put the players out there for pictures and autographs like the baseball players, rather than hoard them up and keep them away from the fans, the UPA would very likely have the highest attended events ever. People would make it a point to attend the UPA events just to get close to the players, don'cha think? Have a big before the tourny "mixer" between the fans and the players. <hr></blockquote>
06-11-2002, 02:31 PM
Charlie explained his reasoning fairly well. Remember,the purpose of the UPA is to promote men's pool and to protect the players. This whole issue skirts a fine line. Yes, if you go to a pro sport other than pool, the players will autograph things for you. BUT, the accessibility of the players is different. In golf, as an example, the players are really only available for autographs prior to the event, when not practicing/warming up and after the event when they are walking from the green to the clubhouse. In baseball or football, they will sign a few autographs before and after the game. BUT have you seen something they call "Officially Licensed" merchandise for sale? That's what Charlie is doing. The players would have signed anything that was identifiable as non-licensed, such as pictures, paper stuff, etc. They wouldn't sign merchandise that had the possibility of being resold with an autograph for more than the value of the original merchandise without the player receiving a royalty. That's a protective function of the UPA, BUT it was also a trial to see how it was received and will probably be amended little by little until the best balance or compromise is achieved.
It's like that in every sport, the players are just closer to the fans in pool.
Jay M<--- speaking for himself, not for the UPA
06-11-2002, 02:35 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>If UPA would put the players out there for pictures and autographs like the baseball players, rather than hoard them up and keep them away from the fans, the UPA would very likely have the highest attended events ever. People would make it a point to attend the UPA events just to get close to the players, don'cha think? Have a big before the tourny "mixer" between the fans and the players. <hr></blockquote>
They do, every single tournament. It's the charity event with the challenge the pros segment and the scotch doubles pro/am. during that time frame, everyone mixes and mingles together and ALL of the pros have to be there because that's when they hold the required Players' Meeting.
I emailed email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org.
The replies I received said they and Predator agreed that signing autographs,including merchandise should be part of every tournament. The said they disagreed with Charlie on this and had a long talk with him about it. And they also said they never made any agreement with anyone they sponsor to not sign anything, including merchandise.
06-12-2002, 01:28 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Q-guy:</font><hr> I think although Rempy should have had a better prepared answer, he was right. If I was the retailer selling his autographs merchandise and had a deal with him. I would not be happy seeing people getting stuff signed and selling it on ebay for what ever they can get.<hr></blockquote>Actually Joe, JR was very polite and I don't know if he could have put it any more diplomatically, so I don't slight him for the tone of his response.
I can understand sports celebrities not wanting to sign memorabilia for someone intending it for resale, but resellers could be curtailed by giving just one or possibly two autographs to a person (for my son, cousin, nephew etc.) And if some signed items wind up for resale, that is just part of life. The value of such items will be generally proportionate to the amount of fans that person has which will in turn be generally proportionate to the amount of money that they make, and therefore they shouldnít sweat it. (The reason professional pool players donít make as much money as some other professional Ďathletesí boils down to there is not as big a fan base.)
Asking for payment for an autograph is saying in effect: ďI give nothing to the fan without payment.Ē I donít care that you drove x amount of miles to attend this event, paid x dollars in admission, spent x dollars at the concession stands, bought videos of what I do, buy cable TV to watch me, bought my book, paid for admission to the movie I was in, purchased items from the sponsor I endorse, purchased items from the other sponsors of the events I play in, subscribe to the magazines that cover my work, rent table time at pool halls to practice to shoot like me, etc. etc., and that those revenues you spent directly or indirectly influence the amount of money I make.
I donít want the autograph of any celebrity that wants to paid for it. Iíll take a free autographed picture, hang it on my wall, draw a moustache on it, and make it a conversation piece for when anyone asks how the moustache got there.
As far as the amount Rempe asked being $100.00, he told me that as clear as a bell on Sunday late afternoon at the Meucci exposition booth at Valley Forge this year. JR endorses Meucci I think, and he was behind the Meucci counter. I canít imagine that many people would pay a hundred bucks for a JR autographed cue ball anyway, but thatís what he told me.
P.S. I was going to post this sooner, but I couldn't access the CCB all Sunday and Monday. Did everyone have that problem?
06-12-2002, 01:31 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Patrick:</font><hr>If he sells his autograph for $100 to others, then it would be unfair if he would give it for free to someone else.<hr></blockquote>Thats true Patrick, but I don't think he should be charging for them in the first place.
I wouldn't compare this to your autographs. Your autographs are an investment, and everyone should go to your website to buy them.
06-12-2002, 02:07 PM
[Quote: stickman:] If I were able to attend 100s of tournaments and see these guys often, maybe I wouldn't care about an autograph or photo with one of them. However, to the person who may only have one opportunity to meet a person that they very much look up to, an autograph or photo with the person is a nice rememberance. Personally, a photo with someone is worth more to me than an autograph. <hr></blockquote> A good point, Jim. It's kind of funny that I see and chat with Jean Balukas on a regular basis and also see Gerda Hofstatter pretty often. I never asked either of them for a photo or autograph when I saw them in my own neighborhood.
But when I saw Gerda playing at Valley Forge this year, after the womens final when a lot of players were mulling around, I asked her for an autographed cue ball, and I asked Jean to take a picture with me. A lot of it had to do with the excitement and memory of the event. Jean was readily amenable to having a picture taken with her; I was even a little surprised she made me feel like it was the most natural thing in the world to do. When I thought about it, I realize I shouldn't have been that surprised: Jean Balukas herself likes to take photos with celebrities. In her pool hall, she has dozens of photos on the wall of her with famous people from all walks of life, including pool, movies, television, golf, and other sports. She also has a number of autographed photos of other pool players hanging on the walls in addition to a framed copy of every issue of Billiards Digest, a framed picture of every(?)member of the Pool Hall of Fame, and every stained glass lamp shade over the tables on the lower level has the name of a famous pool player formed into the glass.
06-12-2002, 02:28 PM
someone should slapped the taste out that little bastards mouth.
-BigAl - would have slapped the moron and sent him packing.
06-12-2002, 02:35 PM
Twenty years from now you will be talking to someone and you will make the comment that you met and played pool with Jean Balukas and the person will look at you and say, "yeah, right". Wouldn't it be a nice feeling to turn, and point to a picture on the wall of you and Jean? If nothing else it would sure bring back some fond memories whether or not you cared if the person believed you. Jake
06-12-2002, 04:03 PM
I guess I am the person who started this whole mess. I took six(6) cue balls with me when I went to the Patriot cup last year. I paid the local dealer here $8 each for them. I met the five players from the NE out of the playing arena at the bar and asked if they would sign a cue ball for me and they all graciously did. I also saw Mike Sigel out there (and he sounds in person just like he does on his video) and also asked him to sign one but he hesitated and told me he really couldn't because he gets paid to do that. But he was nice about it and did sign the flier for me. Inside I met Ray Martin and he too said he gets $30 for his signature. And he too was nice about it and did sign my flier. I still had one more cue ball left and approached Buddy Hall and asked if he would sign it. He said "sure, for $30.00". And then he started laughing and said he was only kidding and signed it for me. No one else that I saw brought cue balls to be signed and the promoters were not offering any for sale. (That's where they missed a golden opportunity). At Predator they just decided not to sign any cue balls at all. Somehow I can't see Tommy Kennedy, Buddy Hall, Mika Immonen freely agreeing to that. We all know how votes can be coerced. Anyway I wrote to Capone Custom cues and Cuetec. And they both answered me and it is my strong belief that they did not go along with that decision. Here is what I received from Cuetec: Thank you for your recent inquiry into Cuetec, "The Next Dimension in Cues." We appreciate your comment and patronage as per Earl, he is usually very good interacting with the public. If you take the time to be at the BCA coming up on 7/25/02 at the Ernest Morial Convention Center in New Orleans you will probably get more than just an autographed from him. How about playing pool with the billiard pro of your choice. The tournament you are referring to probably did not have a schedule for celebrities to interact with the public. I am sure Earl will be more than happy to sign your item if you show up with a permanent ink pen, he will include his picture with a dedication just for you. Hope you can make it to the BCA, please visit them at www.bca-pool.com (http://www.bca-pool.com) for more information on the show. Good luck to you and keep us informed because without you our fans we wouldn't be who we are "CUETEC" often imitated but never duplicated.
How about that? If I wasn't committed to something else on July 27th I would be there. The dealer in town had previously asked me if I wanted to go with him.
And Capone Custome cues also wrote a nice reply and that is why you were offered FREE photos of Mika.
Now I would like to know what other pros at the tournament will agree not to sign stuff at the next show? And who are they sponsored by so I can write to them? I think another vote on the matter is in order. I'll bet that even Charlie will have an awakening and see the error of that decision.
I have no problem with top players asking to be reimbursed for signing a cue ball, or any other item. Then it is up to me to see how badly I want it. $20 to have a player sign a ball is reasonable, especially if they are supplying the ball. Better players can get more. Lesser would get less. Photographs with a player can easily get $10. Twelve years ago at a brunch before a performance by Rod McKuen I paid $15 for a picture of him and my wife sitting together and she still loves it. But it was a good quality picture.
And that's all I have to say about that! Jake
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