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View Full Version : Where the Money is in Pool



Tom_In_Cincy
06-28-2002, 07:06 AM
Perception is reality until it is changed, which requires action.

Pool industry money, where is it? Who has the most to gain with any change (positive) in the industry? Who is the most influential? Where is the most room for improvement? Which area is ready for a change?

Ranked in order per my perception

Manufacturers (tables, cues, accessories, and pool hall owners)

Amature organizations (APA, TAP, VENA, BCA, etc.)

The annual MAJOR pool tournaments (US Open, DCC, Casino events, Vegas, Superman Classic, etc.)

Women's tour

Regional tours (all combined)

Its pretty obvious that if there is any changes to be made in the industry, the Manufacturers must take the largest risk. They are the majority of the sponsers and have the most to gain or lose.

Q-guy
06-28-2002, 07:35 AM
Manufactures make money, but it is small by comparison to the collective earnings of the poolrooms. The amount spent annually in poolrooms is a big number. On the manufactures end, I don't think the money is there. These are by most standards, small time companies. Even combined I would not think they would have the resources to do anything significant even if they wanted to. I really takes outside money, non-billiard related sponsors. The problem is, they are business people and what could be pitched to them that would make them want to invest in sponsoring pool? It is understandable, they want a return on their investment and pool is so far down the ladder as far as where they would put advertising dollars, I could not imagine any large company even being interested. It takes real money, and it is just not there. Just my opinion.

Tom_In_Cincy
06-28-2002, 07:45 AM
Q-Guy
I should have included Pool Room owners in the manufacturing side of the money list.

You are correct in the bottom line of $ as a percentage of the pool world money income.

Outside sponsership is way down the road... there has to be a return on investment when sponsers write the checks. To date, I don't see where pool can make it possible.

"Thinking outside the box" for pool is difficult.. most of the time... the box just has quarters on the rails..

Q-guy
06-28-2002, 07:56 AM
Pool seems to ride wave of ups and down. Mostly caused by accident through some outside influences such as a movie. I would like to see pool always in a growth mode. This can defiantly be done from within by the people you mention if they were so inclined or know how. It is a shame to see it just left to chance.

BLACKHEART
06-28-2002, 08:40 AM
With amateur pool being played mainly in bars & halls that serve liquor, I would think the perfect sponsor should be the cheif benifactor , namely the beer & liquor industry. God knows I've done my share to fatten their wallets...JER

Wally_in_Cincy
06-28-2002, 08:43 AM
The APA is where the money is.

They claim 200,000 members. If each member plays 30 times a year:

200,000 x 30 = 6,000,000

6,000,000 x $6 weekly dues = 36,000,000

Subtract 18,000,000 payback for weekly winners = 18,000,000

If the franchise fee is 20% that's $3,600,000 directly to St. Louis.

Camel sponsorship money probably covers the Vegas prize money (about $1,500,000)

I may be figuring high or low but it's quite a chunk of change however you look at it.

06-28-2002, 11:20 AM
At first blush, it does seem to be a logical path to look at beer/liquor industry for sponsorship. In fact, it's been done at least on some level previously....for a while, Gordon's Gin and Vodka was sponsoring WPBA events. I think the sponsorship went on for two years.

However, there are a few pitfalls to the game of pool in looking to the alcohol industry for sponsorship.

1. It continues to reinforce the already-negative connotations associated with pool. (seedy, drunken, underbelly, etc.....I could go on and on) Doing this misses out on a huge population of potential players.

2. It's been hypothesized previously that growing the sport should include efforts to introduce kids to pool at a younger age ....and to teach the game to them in a way that gets them excited about playing. Involving children in a sport that looks for sponsorship from the liquor contingent would appear to be at cross purposes and, I believe, would ultimately fail.

06-28-2002, 12:01 PM
In theory, I agree that approaching liquor manufacturers to sponsor events may reflect negatively on the sport. However, sponsorship has to come from those companies who would directly or indirectly benefit from the exposure and, as a general rule, the spectators both in person and for televised events are usually pool players. Until we can offer an uneducated viewer a product that could keep them glued to the set or coming out to an event in person, how can we expect to generate other sponsors? I think that we have to use whatever means necessary to create a product that is both professional and attractive as a sport and if that means using sponsors from the liquor industry, so be it.

As it stands right now, however, what sponsor in their right mind would want to be associated with the players that frequent many of the tournaments. The image that has been created by many of the top pros is far from professional and their conduct at major events is appalling in some cases. (Case in point, Earl at the Camel event) I think that we must take a page from the professional snooker circuit in England where players are still allowed to be colorful, but poor sportsmanship and inappropriate conduct are taken very seriously. I would love to see the sponsor money come pouring in, but realistically, I can't fathom it happening without a major facelift.

Scott Lee
06-28-2002, 01:30 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Wally_in_Cincy:</font><hr> The APA is where the money is.

Camel sponsorship money probably covers the Vegas prize money (about $1,500,000)

I may be figuring high or low but it's quite a chunk of change however you look at it.
<hr></blockquote>

Wally...You are definitely HIGH! Camel provides a very small portion of the annual $1,000,000 offered in prize money, at APA national events. The majority (70% + or -) is paid by APA...not that they can't afford it, as your accurate numbers projected! LOL Just wanted to tidy up this one little factoid!

Scott Lee ~ former APA L.O.

Tom_In_Cincy
06-28-2002, 01:39 PM
Scott,
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>~ former APA L.O.<hr></blockquote>

Just curious.. did you quit being a L.O. because of the lack of players in Montana.. or did you do this somewhere else?

Scott Lee
06-28-2002, 01:49 PM
Tom...Hell no! I won a national award for the fastest start of an APA league in history!...zero to 60 teams in 6 weeks!
LOL I sold my league in 1995, when I started touring the country, after taking over Jack White's tour! MT has one of (if not THE) highest per capita poolplaying states...1 out 3 people plays pool! Of course, there are under a million people in the entire state too! LOL

Scott

06-28-2002, 02:10 PM

Scott Lee
06-28-2002, 02:49 PM
whitewolf...LOL Thanks for the compliment! It did make me 'rookie of the year' during my first year! APA has been pretty successful in capturing market share in major metropolitan markets, but less so in smaller, or rural areas. I even tried to get APA to hire me as a consultant on how to quickstart leagues successfully in small markets...for whatever reason, they declined (??? dumb?). IMO, that is where the exponential growth for leagues is...in the small markets across the country. There are currently appx. 3,000,000 regular league players in the U.S. Only 15% of them belong to any organized league (and APA has half of those). Those players could be wooed into the national leagues, given the right opportunity!

Cable tv advertising used to be the same way. You could only advertise in the major markets. Now 20 yrs later, you can advertise locally in almost any town in the country, BTW, I helped THAT to happen too! LOL

Well, winters ARE long here! However, most APA league play is out of bars and taverns, wherever it is located. There are no restrictions for poolrooms that I know of. They even have a way to integrate play on 9' tables into the equation! However, I found it easy to sell the concept of APA league play to bar owners...on the basis of NO cost to them, and NO involvement with either taking money, or resolving disputes. That responsibilty falls to the league operator, and his/her subordinates. Plus the $100 a week extra cash in their pocket (PER team) didn't hurt! Most bar owners are basically greedy! LOL I would tell the guy in Roanoke that you will manage the league, and mediate any disputes yourself. I found that education was the solution to most disputes. "These are the rules! Play nice or go home" seemed to work quite well for me! LOL

I think you're right about most room owners not understanding what it takes to be successful...and that league play is a definite part of that equation!

Scott Lee

06-28-2002, 03:19 PM
QUOTE: "I think that we have to use whatever means necessary to create a product that is both professional and attractive as a sport and if that means using sponsors from the liquor industry, so be it."

A professional and attractive sport is essential, I agree. But sponsors won't "make" us professional or attractive...they won't "legitimize" us. Sponsors are not expected to govern or regulate behavior. We need to realize that it's exactly the opposite way around....we need to modify ourselves (through professional behavior and generating interest in ourselves) in such a way that we ARE a professional &amp; attractive entity. If we ARE that entity, we then have something in hand to entice sponsorship.

QUOTE: ..."sponsorship has to come from those companies who would directly or indirectly benefit from the exposure and, as a general rule, the spectators both in person and for televised events are usually pool players"

Yup...how is that materially different from any other sport? As a rule, golf spectators are golf players, tennis spectators are tennis players, etc. Golf and tennis events have been sponsored by such entities as Avon, Bausch &amp; Lomb, and Pacific Life Insurance. I would imagine that pool players, like golf or tennis players, also need life insurance and corrective lenses and all the others products available. We are as valid a sport to sponsor as any other. If we cleaned up our act, perhaps we'd reap similar benefits.

Going back to this QUOTE: "I think that we have to use whatever means necessary .....if that means using sponsors from the liquor industry, so be it."

I disagree. When you're talking about sponsorship, the end does not justify the means. It has been discussed a great deal lately that PERCEPTION is reality, and the perception of pool is that it's seedy, raucuous, involves rowdy or illegal behavior, involves drunken bar fights, attracts undesirable elements, is the underbelly....I could go on and on. We must change that perception as part of our self-improvement plan toward building a professional organization.

If we are trying to reverse that image on the one hand but are endorsed by a liquor company on the other hand, we get nowhere. It's like two people in the same boat rowing in completely different directions. I realize it sounds unfair, but that's the reality of it. Further, the nature of a liquor sponsor in and of itself may turn off other potential sponsors, so the liquor sponsor is of extremely limited benefit.

I don't personally have an issue with the liquor companies, and I'm certainly not a prohibitionist. But until we can clean up our own image, we aren't afforded the benefit of the doubt in having sponsors whose products may be seen as contributing to the unsavory nature of our sport.

heater451
06-28-2002, 05:38 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: aldewey:</font><hr>. . .Golf and tennis events have been sponsored by such entities as Avon, Bausch &amp; Lomb, and Pacific Life Insurance. I would imagine that pool players, like golf or tennis players, also need life insurance and corrective lenses and all the others products available. We are as valid a sport to sponsor as any other. <hr></blockquote>Given the lower monetary numbers for pool, as opposed to other sports, I wonder if it would be a good selling point to a potential sponsor, to say that it's cheaper to advertise during/sponsor it. . . .Of course, I realize the 'weight' of the viewership would have to be measured, but I would think there would be a product/demographic cross-over somewhere in the mix.

Tom_In_Cincy
06-28-2002, 05:48 PM
Maybe we could get a PRO-PRO pool/golf tournament going.. on the weekend when the cuts are announced.. you get the golfer that gets the weekend off?

A two day event that will have the top golfers adding strokes to their score cards just so they can play..

Yeah Right...

06-28-2002, 06:00 PM
and, being that I'm a salesman for a living, an approach I think could have success.

However, the level of the product we're offering still has to go way up before the more-for-less argument has any teeth, and that means displaying professional conduct and behavior as players.

Paying less is only attractive if you aren't getting junk as a result of paying less.

stickman
06-28-2002, 06:07 PM
I don't have a problem with the liquor industry throwing sponsorship money at pool. If you notice nearly every beer company sponsors a Nascar team. Busch promotes an entire Nascar racing series. While Winston sponsors the other. Winston also sponsors drag racing, and formula 1 racing heavily. Football and baseball are both heavily sponsored by the breweries. All this sponsorship money from cigarette and beer companies doesn't seem to soil the image of these sports. Something to think about.

jjinfla
06-28-2002, 06:17 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: BLACKHEART:</font><hr> With amateur pool being played mainly in bars &amp; halls that serve liquor, I would think the perfect sponsor should be the cheif benifactor , namely the beer &amp; liquor industry. God knows I've done my share to fatten their wallets...JER <hr></blockquote>

Blackheart, have you seen the ad with Lee promoting Canadian Club? Now there is a smart woman. And if Jack Daniels was smart they would latch onto Scotty Townsend - he sure does promote it. LOL Jake

BLACKHEART
06-29-2002, 01:18 AM
I can guarantee you that if you played pool for a living you wouldn't care where the money came from. GET THE GAME BACK ON TV. Then, when you are in the main stream TV venue, worry about your IMAGE...JER

06-29-2002, 04:37 AM
And these liquor companies seem quite willing to sponsor so called "lesser sports" such as thoroughbreed horse racing, harness horse racing and olympic equestrian events.

06-29-2002, 04:42 AM
I agree that the game has to be on tv. But I would add it should be at a regularly weekly scheduled time like bowling was back in the 60s and maybe even before that. At least once a week on the same day and at the same time. And then it might be easier to grow from there.

06-29-2002, 09:17 PM
Indeed. Crown Royal and the United States Equestrian Team certainly aren't unhappy with their alliance. And alcoholic beverages are not the kiss of death they once were. Tobacco, on the other hand, now there's an image problem! LOL

PQQLK9
06-30-2002, 08:02 AM
But Joe Camel was really cool.../ccboard/images/icons/smile.gif