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MGM Grand To Host Mosconi Cup
Sep 4, 2003, 1:53 PM

As promised by Brit pool promoter Barry Hearn after Europe upset the mighty U.S. squad in the 2002 Mosconi Cup last December, pool fans in America will get their chance to play the boisterous hosts when the 2003 version of the raucous Europe vs the U.S. team event comes to the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Dec. 18-21.

“The Mosconi Cup in Las Vegas is something that the world of pool has been collectively dreaming about for a long time,” said Hearn, the former snooker promoter, whose Matchroom Sport sports promotion company launched the Ryder Cup-style 9-ball tournament in 1994. “I’m delighted to say that it is now a reality.”

Hoping to create the type of interest that Americans developed for the America’s Cup sailing race after the U.S.’s years of dominance was ended, shockingly, in the early ’80s, Hearn plans to hype the 2003 Mosconi Cup to pool fans and general sports fans in the U.S. According to Matchroom publicist Luke Riches, a 30-second commercial promoting the Mosconi Cup will air some 100 times on Fox Sports World during broadcasts of the World Matchplay Darts tournament (a Matchroom promotion) in September.

Additionally, said Hearn, Matchroom will be offering special fan packages to pool followers in both Europe and the U.S., in an attempt to recreate the wildly enthusiastic soccer-style fan atmosphere that has rattled the rafters of York Hall for the past five years.

“We want as many fans as possible to come and join in this celebration of the great game,” Hearn commented. “We’ll be announcing some very affordable travel packages very shortly.”

Matchroom also announced that, for the first time in the event’s history, the teams will be led by non-playing captains, similar to the Ryder Cup golf format. While teams have yet to be confirmed, it is expected that Team Europe will return almost intact, with Germany’s Ralf Souquet, Sweden’s Marcus Chamat, Nick Van den Berg of the Netherlands, England’s Steve Davis and Finland’s Mika Immonen defending their crown. It is anticipated that newly crowned world champion Thorsten Hohmann, of Germany, will be added to the squad, replacing countryman Oliver Ortmann. Ortmann, captain and emotional leader of the 2002 champions, may be tabbed as the team’s non-playing captain in 2003.
According to Riches, the American squad is still taking shape, and a final announcement of the six-man team is not likely before the United States Professional Poolplayers Association (UPA) Atlanta Open in mid-October.

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