poolSynergy, volume dodici

this is the twelfth volume of poolSynergy.  welcome back, and thanks for reading this post.

the topic for volume XII is “the impact of media on pool’s future”.

for the main page of volume XII, visit the link below.  it contains a list of all the posts on this month’s topic.

main page for poolSynergy volume XII

also, visit the link below for a complete list of poolSynergy’s monthly topics.


below is my post for this month.  enjoy.

for volume 12, snarky posed an interesting question about media and pool: the impact of media on pool’s future.  specifically, he asked the following:

Does it matter if TV coverage goes away?

Is streaming the future of pool?

What impact will the lack of TV coverage have on pool as a spectator sport?

How will this impact pool from a participation point of view?

honestly, if i tried to answer all the questions above, you’ll never finish reading the post.  i’ll try to keep it simple, and remember this is my personal opinion; yours may vary.

my take on media’s effect on pool can probably boil down to one word: reach.  just like everything else we do, when we talk about the media, we should have a goal in mind; specifically, what do we want to do with media as far as pool is concerned?  i can only think of one thing: reach.  how far and how deep do we want to use media as the vehicle to reach others, and for what purpose?  do we try to increase awareness, bring in advertising dollars, attract tour sponsors, or what?  basically, why do we need media for pool?

there’s no simple answer, and each person’s/group’s goal will be different.  however, the current reality is that pool is not a mainstream favorite at this point.  way back in the day (i think in the 1920’s), you could find pool in newspapers.  there were tv coverage.  but those days are long gone.  throw a bad economy into the mix, and we have a pool-hostile environment, media-wise.

my personal feeling is that if pool goes away from tv, it’d be a huge annoyance, but it wouldn’t be a life-altering event.  sure, i’d love to be able to tivo all the pool matches, but there’s always youtube if tv pool isn’t available; judging from the lack of pool on tv right now, i’d say we’re already there.  if you don’t have cable, there’s no pool on tv, period.  does this impact the pool playing crowd?  i’d say no.  the frequent players play anyway, regardless of tv coverage; shoot, us pool players are known to buy pool on dvds.  the weekend warriors play occasionally, and they won’t change their playing habits since they probably have other hobbies like bar-hopping, partying, eating, hanging out, movies, concerts, bowling; you know, life outside of pool.

plus, keep in mind that watching pool takes a certain amount of pool knowledge.  the average folks are probably bored by tv pool after 2 minutes.  for example, i was eating at a restaurant with friends, and a wpba match was on espn2.  i think i was the only one that watched it in that restaurant.  granted, the food was very yummy and people could just be busy eating, but i have a feeling that if a football game was on, there’d be a lot more people craning their necks.  simply put, pool matches are typically for pool players.  there are probably more people watching timber sports than pool.

media is simply a tool, just like your cue and case.  the players should dictate the terms between media and pool.  if we’re creative enough, we can find new avenues to broadcast pool, and not be confined to just tv and internet.  there’s podcast, for example; we can put pool matches as free podcasts for download, and people will more likely to download free stuff.  or sell downloadable matches on itunes/amazon, and make it cheap.  media is more than tv.  shoot, even maybe even internet radio.  capitalize on all the smart phones out there; iphone, android, blackberry, whatever.  i’ll bet pool will look amazing on ipad even at dvd resolution.

i say we adopt.  times are changing, and people’s viewing habits change with technology.  the wpba seems able to keep the espn thing going for now, so that’s good.  as for the rest, let’s stick with dvds, blu-ray discs, live streaming, and uploaded videos for the local players.  use the grassroots approach; attract local players for local tours, and put the matches online or on dvds, ala accu-stats.  yes, dvd may be a dying tech, but it’s cheap and plentiful, and the picture quality is typically better than online videos, if such things matter to you.  i’d love to see pool on blu-ray, but right now it’s expensive to make and pricey for us consumers.  maybe in two or three years.  players will need airbrush makeup artists for blu-ray though; that hi-def stuff will mercilessly show all the pores, as well as any stray little boogers that hang near the nostrils.

in the current media climate, let’s take a step back, deemphasize our efforts on national coverage and focus on reaching local pool instead.  once there is a solid local base, we can then once again push for major national exposure.  use media as our tool, instead of some holy grail we must reach.  we just have to turn the paradigm around in our minds.

13 comments on “poolSynergy, volume dodici

  1. Pingback: Pool Synergy Volume 12 – The Sky Is Falling!! | Pool Cue News and Review v2.0

  2. Good post Mr. Riah. Utilizing the grass roots approach will certainly solidify pools standing amongst, and grow the amateur and semi-pro pool playing community.

  3. I agree with your recommendation. I can’t understand why most of my friends aren’t crazy about pool and why they don’t want to watch a 3 day race to 100 match. They probably never will. Let’s focus on people who already have shown in interest in pool, like weekly league players. There are millions of them. Let’s develop that crowd.

    • thanks michael. i think when times are bad, it’s good common sense to step back and scale down. when we have a solid local fanbase, national media will become more feasible.

    • My husband asks the same question on why I do not let him pay for these pay-per-view events. My main reasoning is, it’s money out the door. I guess it’s like going out to eat versus cooking at home. I play pool too, but I can’t sit there in front of the t.v. or computer for hours at a time and watch just to watch the pool match. So if he buys the pay-per-view matches, only he can enjoy it, instead of both of us, I know, it is very selfish of me. But if he gets get a group of people over and watch, I am more than willing to pay to view the event.

  4. Interesting take. As a company that frequently advertises on billiards programming (both televised and streamed), I can say that it would be very unfortunate for pool on TV to disappear. We’ve been running commercials on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic during billiards programming since 2005 and receive a plethora of new leads every time our commercial runs.

    From the perspective of someone who is more of a casual fan (as I am easily the worst pool player here at PoolDawg), the biggest issue with televised pool is the presentation. If I didn’t know the players I was watching, I probably wouldn’t watch at all because the presentation is extremely dull. The only time I’ve ever seen televised pool that was entertaining was watching some clips from the Mosconi Cup. The crowd was excited, the players were intense and it made for compelling television. I’d love to see the WPBA’s televised programming move more in that direction.

    • thanks for commenting mike. i wrote this post strictly from a viewer’s perspective. advertising is a complicated subject which i have zero experience in, so i’m not really qualified to offer an opinion. however, i’d imagine you probably don’t need pool on tv to advertise; it’s entirely possible to purchase a spot on espn, fox sports, mtv, or even cmt–country music television. but for a television viewer, it’s probably not an earth-shattering event if pool disappears from espn. (it would suck though.)

      as far as the mosconi cup (or the world team billiards), i agree that it is exciting to watch that on tv. when you inject national pride in any sport, people tend to get pumped up & ready to cheer. as far as the rest of the pool programming, well, i think it’s a niche program. only a certain amount of people would really watch pool regularly, and it’s usually done to better the person’s game. when pool is watched under the context of learning, presentation and exciting atmosphere usually takes a back seat. that’s what i think anyway. for casual fans pool matches can be pretty dry.

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