View Full Version : Snooker versus pool
05-02-2005, 04:27 PM
While we're on the snooker subject, I noted that as the snooker championships progressed, the longer the matches became. I was thinking that this is the way it should be. As the better players make their way to the top, shouldn't they have to play longer to establish their superiority? I think it's just for TV, but is that the only reason in the EAPN pool world why they shorten the length of the matches as the players get closer to the finals; just so that by clipping a few games they can get the whole think crammed into an hour slot?
05-02-2005, 05:23 PM
Whatever makes the broadcaster money.
05-03-2005, 10:18 AM
bsmutz Snooker has an audience it is more watched than Golf. Stephen Hendry has won more than 10,000,000 lbs or 17 million dollars. Every pub has one or two snooker tables and everyone watches it. They have been doing it that way for years so you can't fault success.####
05-03-2005, 11:38 AM
Unfortunately pool hasn't developed the kind of ratings that would entice broadcasters to have more than that 1hr. time slot. I still think it sucks cuz if you're gonna show it, show it right. Dont get me interested in watching and then clip a third of the game on me.
05-03-2005, 12:15 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote DickLeonard:</font><hr> bsmutz Snooker has an audience it is more watched than Golf. Stephen Hendry has won more than 10,000,000 lbs or 17 million dollars. Every pub has one or two snooker tables and everyone watches it. They have been doing it that way for years so you can't fault success.#### <hr /></blockquote>
I hope American pool will rise to this level of respect in the future. It will take major sponship and money ... lots of it (see my message on a related thread (http://www.billiardsdigest.com/ccboard/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Board=ccb&Number=191184&page =0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&vc=1)). We also have the small matter of getting over the "seedy" image of pool in this country (e.g., wagering, sharking, smokey bars, broken thumbs, mispent youths, etc.).
05-03-2005, 01:33 PM
For a complete (and impassioned) debate on the difficulty level and complexities of pool vs. snooker, see the famous Ronnie thread (http://www.billiardsdigest.com/ccboard/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Board=ccb&Number=176378&page =0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1).
05-03-2005, 01:58 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bsmutz:</font><hr> While we're on the snooker subject, I noted that as the snooker championships progressed, the longer the matches became. ... <hr /></blockquote>
The World Pool Championships are run the same way. I think the finals are a race to 17.
05-03-2005, 04:13 PM
Wouldn't a star-studded movie, ala The Color of Money, but with a story line more like one of the movies about a hockey team or basketball team making it to the championships give pool a shot in the arm? I guess it's just not going to happen. To me, you couldn't have a better scenario than say the Mosconi Cup, where the best pool players from Europe and America battle it out for the trophy; kind of a Super Bowl of pool, if you will. Will it ever be shown on TV since it was played in Europe last year? I'd love to see even a documentary type film about the Mosconi Cup. Interview Johnny about his decisions as team captain, show how the team got there, and some highlights of the competition. It wouldn't be hard to turn it into a movie that would get people pumped up about pool. Our attention is getting jerked around in so many directions all the time that it isn't hard to understand why pool doesn't receive the attention it deserves. A very large population plays the game on some level, so there must be some interest there. It's kind of a chicken and egg thing; the sponsors won't put up the money until it is proven to be profitable (except for Embassy tobacco) and the public won't show interest unless it's exciting for them to watch. People complain on various boards about the actions that individual players take that detracts from the respectability of the game, yet wrestling has a larger fan base and I can't think of anything respectable about that sport. Also, if nobody is watching when Danny Harriman quits in the middle of a match except a roomful of people out of 250 million or so, how does it affect the game in the big picture? Now if 50 million viewers were watching world wide and they were playing in front of an arena full of people with a $500,000 prize, do you think he would have quit? I don't. I think he would have gladly paid the $100 UPA membership. Does anyone know if it has been proven that we aren't ready for Sunday afternoon pool? Have any of the major networks tried it and failed to get the viewership necessary to make it viable? Are we really doomed to competing with curling or boat racing on weekday mornings and afternoons, sports in which only a miniscule amount of people (compared to pool) have comnpeted in and enjoyed, or even can compete in? This is getting long and the subject seems to never have a definitive answer. I'm guessing we need a Donald Trump or a Bill Gates to join the fray with us and spend gobs of money to get some recognition. Until then, it's probably a discussion that leads to nowhere...
05-03-2005, 04:16 PM
In Europe they have betting windows at the tournaments. Betting on snooker may have as much to do with it's popularity as anything else. Many of the players are involved in scandal and at the world championships they can be like soccer fans, (I've been there.) They serve alcohol there and many in the audience are drunk. Snooker by no means has a clean image. In fact if you could openly bet on every match with set odds, pool may take off. People who can't make a ball would watch just to bet on it. The negative pool image thing I think is a fantasy for the most part and has little to do with the lack of money in pool.
05-03-2005, 04:38 PM
Why would anyone care about watching pool? A sponsor will ask just this simple of a one line question if you were pitching them the idea, what would you say?
05-03-2005, 06:22 PM
I don't know about most people but for me it would be knowing the skill required to play at the highest level, the excitement of seeing it played at its highest level. Watching it is exciting for me as I love the game. Football (American) is exciting to watch, but all the other games that get huge amounts of money just don't do anything for me. Baseball, basketball, golf, hockey, boxing; all boring. Too much interruption and blah time. Sure, I can get excited by individual effort that goes beyond what the normal person is capable of, but to me it doesn't match up with the amount of money they get paid and the cost to watch it in person, as well as the waiting between instances of outstanding personal or team efforts. I guess I've always kind of felt like we (our society) put too much money into entertainment of this type. Even football players get paid too much in my mind and they have a huge risk of personal injury that could completely wipe out all that they've worked for. I think actors get paid too much also. Just my opinions. You bring up a good question, Popcorn. If I was honest, I guess if you had asked me that question 5 years ago, my answer would have probably been different. But would my lack of interest then have more to do with the dearth of pool tournaments being broadcast or my non-involvement in the sport? There's a question I wouldn't be able to answer.
05-04-2005, 08:30 AM
With repect, I have never seen a snooker table in a British pub. Many pubs have one or two 6 foot pool tables, with small balls (8-ball in the UK is played with 7 solid reds, 7 solid yellows and a black), and small pockets.
Snooker tables tend to be kept in private snooker clubs, many of which are very reasonably priced to join.
The World Championship is still sponsored by Embassy, a tobacco company, and since it is broadcast on the BBC for many hours, that TV publicity is worth a lot of money. That's my guess why they pay out 250,000 pounds for the winner (475,000 US dollars).
The players become celebrities in the UK, especially the wild ones, such as Hurricane Higgins, and the tabloid press gives plenty of attention to the players when they do anything 'newsworthy'. The top players are as well known in the UK as top US football players are in the US.
05-04-2005, 03:16 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote TonyMN:</font><hr>Snooker tables tend to be kept in private snooker clubs, many of which are very reasonably priced to join.<hr /></blockquote>
I think the majority are in working menís clubs, especially in the north, and are even cheaper. The average would be two tables but bigger clubs will have up to six. The clubs were formed by and paid for by working men, and are run by elected committees with a paid steward and bar staff. All assets are owned by the members and subs are typically a only couple of quid a year. The tables are therefore provided effectively free for the memberís recreation. You only have to put in a nominal ten or twenty pence in a meter for the light, which covers maintenance of the tables, fixtures, and fittings. They are also usually treated more reverently and maintained in pristine condition in comparison to snooker clubs.
The downside is you have to put your name down for a game and wait and wait, hoping half of those before you don't turn up because the bingo is on in the concert room. You only get one game and your off. Stick around between bar opening times though and you have the place to yourself.
Another plus - being effectively non profit, the beer is much cheaper in clubs than in pubs. It's where the power drinkers gather, and there is a much more representative spread of ages from 18 to 80. Consequently there is none of the trouble associated with town centre pubs catering for underage drinkers. The club federation in Newcastle even own their own brewery.
When I first joined a club I was initially surprised to discover the annual AGM's are packed to the rafters. The doors are locked, and a hush descends for a reading the statement of accounts and ratification of the elected committee. It became clearer when the excess profits were divied out to those members present in the form of free beer tickets redeemable at the bar.
05-05-2005, 03:08 AM
I am sorry, but that is TOTALLY inaccurate. Soccer fans? Please, I would like to know what tournaments you have seen. Granted, outside the arena you can have a bet on a match and also a drink, but when you get into the arena, it is silent. In all my time watching Snooker, I have probably only seen 3/4 people ejected from the arena, and only 1 of those times is because they were causing real trouble.
Betting scandal? I would really like to know who has been involved in a scandal. In recent years, there have been no players to my knowledge involved in any betting scandals what so ever. We did have a few players back in the day who pushed the boundaries a bit with their actions, ie Alex Higgins who was an absolute magician around the table, he did not behave in an appropriate fashion for a snooker tournament.
You cannot compare soccer fans to snooker fans, the two are so different it is unbelievable.
05-05-2005, 07:41 AM
I was at the Crucible. The group of Irish spectators I was sitting among were all drunk and the guy behind us spilled beer on my wife so I am not mistaken about the drinking. In the lobby you could bet on the different matches and people were running in and out placing their bets. The soccer comparison may have been a little extreme but you could have easily gotten in a fight with the wrong word to the wrong person I felt. I will admit immediately inside the arena it was orderly. The different players are often written about in the tabloids regarding their personal lives, drinking drugs and so on.
The poster I was responding to was trying to paint a picture of the snooker world as the epitome of what a sport should be and pool is the pits and that is not the case. Snooker is a well run machine as well as being regarded as a professional sport and the people who put it on have it down real good, the pool promoters could take a lesson. But it's popularity is not due to being so wholesome and pure and pools lack of public interest is also not due to it's seedy public image, if that is even the case. Snooker is big business and run that way, pool isn't.
It could be cultural as well, Americans have a zillion different interests and can jump from one thing to another with no real loyalty, they like fads. All they have to do is make a movie about something and Americans will jump on the band wagon, I.E.. "Urban Cowboy" everybody was wearing cowboy hats and boots and line dancing, "Saturday Night Fever", and they were all doing disco, "Color of Money" and pool rooms were opening all over the place, (most now closed). I did not mean to sound like I was casting a dispersion on snooker or it's fans, I just don't think their images, pool & snooker, are that much different, yet one is a huge sport and the other is just seen as an unimportant pass time. People are always looking for the reason why and like to say pools image needs to be cleaned up like that is the magic bullet and I don't think that is necessarily the case. If I offended you in any way I apologize.
05-05-2005, 07:14 PM
As long as the major tournaments in the US can be won by 1 of any of the top 100 players there will not by the interest. Name recognition is the key to spectator interest. 9 ball is a breaking contest and a game which levels the playing field and there have been few repeat champions in years and years. I hate golf but I'll be watching the US Open to see if Tiger can win another major. I even started watching "Jeopardy" a few months ago to see if that nerd could keep his streak alive. Play 10-ball, break from the center of the table, tighten the pockets, outlaw jump cues anything to make the top players rise to the top.
05-05-2005, 07:53 PM
The format is why you don't have repeat champions. If the favorites loses his first match in a double elimination tournament. The odds of him winning is huge. They should play single elimination multiple sets such as 3 out of 5 race to 9. A match could last three hours and you would see who can play. The players would play only once or at the most twice a day and play on a strict schedule. Talking about snooker I was at a tournament in England and they were playing a race to 17 if I remember right. I do remember the match took most of the day. No one got up and left, it was like a war.
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