A look behind the curtains of the Euro-Tour

David Morris - Organizer and Camera Man

"We are only talking about a billiard tournament here, right?" Whenever a participant arrives at the venue of a Euro-Tour, a European Championship or several other international events in Europe that is organised by the EPBF, he can see the same arena: a truss system, up to 12x8m wide, 3, 5 m high with a lot of equipment hanging on and standing around it, being surrounded by a digital panel system. 

Several people can be seen buzzing around the arena, giving the showground its final finish. Screws are tightened, bolts are fixed, cameras and microphones are checked and adjusted. A small crew of highly qualified team members operates like clockwork in order to make ends meet. Only a few people know the logistic masterpiece that is behind this setup.

Normally, the truck with the equipment and the first crew members arrives on a Sunday if the event starts on a Thursday. Two to three days are needed to set the arena up. 12 tons of equipment is travelling about 28.000 km annually through Europe in a huge lorry with 14 wheels. 

The total value of the equipment is around €140,000. That does not include the pool tables. They are brought to the different tournament sites by the sponsor or the local organiser. When the lorry is unloaded, normally all the equipment is put into the venue first and things start to get built up according the plan. The truss system is one of the first items to be installed since it can be seen as the "spine" of the arena. 

The inside playing showground is surrounded by 18 LCD TV's that makes up the digital panel where the sponsor's logos are displayed in a professional fashion. Three additional flat screen TV's are added to the truss' bars as scoreboards for the spectator's convenience. 

Since the events are streamed live on the internet, four HD cameras and one pocket camera is installed in the arena to achieve the best coverage possible. 

A commentator's box with a professional mixer and cutting unit is set up next to the arena.

Depending on how many tables are used for the tournament, a total of 40 laptops are utilized for the IT-database that the tournament is run with. Whenever a player presses a button on a laptop in the tournament venue in order to make the laptop display the correct result, this information goes into the database system on the EPBF website and is at the same time displayed on the internet.

Rankings, player information and tournament info is processed in the wink of an eye. This data system has been researched and developed over about 15 years now and is constantly improved. 

Many hours of programming as well as the experience of several hundreds of tournaments have flown into the tournament program, making it unique in the World of pool-billiards.

The logistics for the IT-support is almost invisible but nevertheless considerably extensive. Up to 10 km of internet cables, 25 km of power cables, 10 internet routers with 15 internet switches and hubs as well as 5 km of VGA-cables are serving in order to achieve the goal: the best promotion and presentation of a pool billiard event possible. 

During one year, 20,000 tie wraps are used to fix all the cables and the 130 national and federation flags to the arena. Six theatre spotlights and 20 Par16-spots are used in order to present the tournament in the proper light.

The other tables in the event venue are also partly live streamed on the internet by up to 20 DVD camcorders. Results and scoring information on site is displayed via four beamers on different screens in the lobby. This information is directly connected to the IT-data system and updated every five seconds. The gallery where pictures of the participants are displayed is equipped with a selection of the best of about 15.000 pictures that are taken annually during the events.

Once the event has started, the team members assume their various "tournament tasks". The tournament desk is always manned with up to two tournament leaders; one IT-technician is either on site or at his computer at home, supervising the program; an event photographer is taking pictures of everything that is happening on and next to the tables.

A commentator is accompanying the matches while the technician helps with all the electric and equipment; referees are watching the tables and are always there to support and help the players with any questions that might arise. A press officer is doing his best in order to make all this known to as many people around the planet as possible.

Yes, we are only talking about a pool-billiard tournament here!