volume V of pool synergy seemed to have brought up a debate over gambling in pool, and some interesting comments and posts ensued. brooklyn jay wrote a post as a reply to pool student’s entry in volume V. you can read brooklyn jay’s post HERE.
my personal position is that gambling is a morally neutral act, kind of like farting. it’s not good OR bad to gamble; it becomes a certain way by the intentions you attach to the action, in this case gambling. (read my friend’s analysis on gambling HERE.) i also commented that the reason why pool isn’t mainstream is due to money. i commented somewhere that if you throw a $2 million-dollar tournament, tv will probably come knocking on your door for broadcast rights. i also commented somewhere that the giant prizes in poker seemed to be the reason why it became a broadcasting phenom.
the more i think about it, the more i believe my previous positions were flawed. i was incorrect.
in exploring the concept of huge prize money in tournaments, i asked my self: what does a huge purse do? what is the role of a gigantic purse in a tournament?
i think the answer to that question is people.
my new position is that it’s not the money, but people’s attraction to money, or the love of money that plays the big role here. the love of money attracts people. then i tried to think of a commonality between all the successful games on tv, and i came to this conclusion: huge crowds. 20,000+ or more people under one roof, in one stadium, at one venue. all with a common purpose of watching an event.
i now think it’s the spectacle of human gathering that brings in the cameras. the money is only one of the traps that gets people in. when i watch football/basketball/tennis/boxing on tv, i think of the ancient gladiator sports; only that the combatants are no longer slaves or captives of war, but multi-millionaires battling for the crowd’s amusement and amazement. when you have a large crowd, good things can happen media-wise.
i remember the pac-man tournament here in socal some months back. pacquiao had said he would be there the last day for an appearance. the tournament drew a decent crowd the first couple of days. the last day of the tournament, just the mere possibility that pacquiao might show up, probably tripled the crowd size. many brought cameras, & the rest used cell phones for pics and vids. local tv station showed up, hoping to catch pac-man in person. he didn’t show, but this illustrated for me clearly that there are many ways to attract a crowd. money is just one of them.
i’m thinking that if the people in pool want to go mainstream, media-wise, then they need to first figure out if that’s the direction they want to take. then they have to figure out what would attract large crowds, get them done, then publicize the event. by a large crowd, i mean 10,000+ attendees in one event.
personally i’m not even sure if huge media exposure is the best thing for pool. snarky from the now-defunct pool cue news & review might have nailed it in his post for pool synergy volume V. (still don’t know why he shut his blog down.) he wrote this:
Focus on developing a solid US tour for men and women with at least 10-15 tour stops each. Get outside sponsors. The TV deal is already in place for the women and ESPN. Talk to legitimate newspapers and sports websites about publishing pro results, even if its only box score style listings in the back of the paper. Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to clean up the industry’s rep a bit either.
i kind of think the women already have a pretty solid pro tour in wpba. still, the advice looks sound to me.