Emily Frazer Answers US Open Questions

Emily Frazer

The upcoming US Open Pool Championship (formerly the US Open 9-Ball Championship) has been all the talk on social media lately, but maybe not for all of the right reasons. To join the field of 256 players in this prestigious event, players must not only pony up the $750 entry fee, but they must also sign a fourteen-page Player Agreement. Signing a player agreement is something new for a number of these players, and with that newness comes questions. We spoke to Matchroom Multi Sport Managing Director Emily Frazer, to try to help shine some light on some of those questions.

Section 6.1 of the player agreement states “Players shall be required to provide and wear their own playing shirts for the Event (“Event Shirts”); which must be worn throughout the Event and in any promotional work associated to the Event”. Some fans were reading this section as being required to purchase “event shirts” from Matchroom. Frazer explained that this interpretation of the contract was not correct. “We are selling an event shirt that players or fans can purchase” said Frazer, adding that players would receive a discount if they wanted to purchase the product. Players would not be forced to wear the Matchroom shirt though.

Another section that drew attention on social media was section 10.1 that states, “The Player hereby agrees with the Promoter that he/she will stay at the appointed Event Accommodation (“Harrahs Resort, Atlantic City”)”. While this is not an uncommon rule at major events like this, Frazer explained that this rule was also in place to keep players within Health and Safety requirements for the event. She also added that all players would receive Covid tests and would need a negative result to compete in the event.

While those two sections drew questions from the players, it was section 12.1 that had the most people talking. Section 12.1 states that “By signing this Agreement, the Player confirms that they will not participate in any ‘US Open Championship’ style pool events during the fourteen months from signature of this Agreement without the prior written consent of the Promoter”.

Questions immediately came up on social media, asking about Mark Griffin’s US Open 8-Ball, 10-Ball, One Pocket, and Bank Pool events. Frazer responded online that this clause was only intended for 9-ball events. That led the line of questions to then focus on Pat Fleming’s upcoming International 9-Ball Open. Again, Frazer indicated that the contract would also not stop players from competing in Fleming’s event. “The player agreement is not to unreasonably hold the players” said Frazer. “It is just to protect the Matchroom brand”. Frazer also pointed out that the clause has been in their agreement for years and was probably only becoming a question now because the 256 player field for the US Open was attracting players who had not played a Matchroom event all year. “We have been doing invitationals, but now that we are doing open events” she explained. While the new players were questioning the agreement, Frazer noted that the “higher level players understand the Matchroom goal and aim”.

Frazer was certainly not happy with the agreement being posted online asking “If you have a question about something like this, do you screenshot it and ask all of your Facebook friends, or do you go to the promoter and ask them?”. Even with that unhappiness though, Frazer places some of the blame for the misunderstandings on herself, saying that she has been working on “realigning and readjusting the player agreement for 2022”. Even while questioning the method that the agreement was being debated online, Frazer said she was happy that the players were discussing the matter. “ I like that the players have a voice. We don’t get it right every time, and we will always listen. At the end of the day, we have the best interest of the players at heart“ she said.

Although the US Open Pool Championship player agreement was the initial reason for our conversation with Frazer, she also shared that tickets had just gone on sale the day for the upcoming Mosconi Cup XXVIII, to be held at the Alexandra Palace in London England on December 7th – 10th. “We have already sold 1700 tickets and met our day one goal” said Frazer.

Frazer promised that they would not draw out the announcements for the Mosconi Cup this year, after announcing online that Albin Ouschan and Shane Van Boening would be the first players competing for Team Europe and Team USA this year. “Albin is our world #1, so he was going to make the team. Shane is the Team USA playing Vice Captain, so we knew he was making the team too”. Frazer confirmed that Alex Lely and Jeremy Jones would be back to captain their respective teams and said her team was working on an announcement on how the rest of each team will be chosen.