A Big-Time Sponsor For Pool?

This is an editorial.

I am always amused at the number of threads that show up in the forums about "what's wrong with pro pool". These will usually result in everyone reaching the conclusion that all the sport needs is a major sponsor. And then the question comes up from folks wondering why no one goes out to get us one.

Well, in truth, this has already been done. Several times. And it has always failed. Gordons sponsored the WPBA but never met their objectives with the campaign. RJ Reynolds sponsored the men's tour for years and the executives who came to the events were always amazed at the number of Marlboros they saw in the audience. In fact, Phillip Morris gained market share during the years that RJ Reynolds sponsored pro pool. (And this with 40,000,000 pool players who could have affected those numbers.)

Red Roof Inn has several trial balloons in the air surrounding pool and they are all hovering well below their expected heights. The folks at Red Roof made it very easy and very attractive to participate. As their initial press release stated: "If you go through RedRoof.com directly, all you have to do is enter 602763 in the VP+ / ID # slot.  You can also make reservations at 1-800-Red Roof, or contact our sports group department at 248-398-0274. There is no need to show a card at check in." Those who would do this would get a 20% discount on an already reasonably priced room, and Red Roof would give another 1% to the Pro Player Fund. Had this worked out, Red Roof would not have been ignorant of the fact that pool fans were supplying them with business. That is why they provide the discount, to track how much support they are getting from the pool community. And that support has been pitiful.

I have never understood why fans of other sports support their sponsors and pool fans ignore them. NASCAR fans will buy Sprint/Nextel phones even though their coverage is the worst of the major carriers. They will go to Aaron Rents and pay inflated prices for stuff they can get elsewhere for less. In short, the sponsors of NASCAR are not going anywhere because their sponsorship pays off.

And pool sponsors? You cannot show me a single outside-the-industry sponsor who has ever profited from putting a penny into the game. The game will continue to wither as this trend continues. If fans would pour support into Red Roof then promoters could contact them for event sponsorship and reach a favorable ear. But that does not appear to be in the offing. We, as fans, have failed the game again.

"Mirror-mirror on the wall, show me why this game does fall."