Future of Pool Needs “Spicing Up”

One of pool's most high profile money matches of the last few years took place in Yeovil on January 16 2010.
Three-time World 8-ball pool champion, Gareth Potts, took on Oly Bale for a combined pot of £21,000 in front of a 400-strong crowd in the Yeovil Snooker Centre.
The buzz surrounding this match was something never before experienced by Pete Williams, Managing Director of Internet TV channel Cuesport TV. His company were responsible for the online streaming of this historic occasion, a match that received record traffic levels.
Williams said: “In the time that Cuesport TV has been around it has never before been so evident that a match of this nature can appeal to other players and pool fans alike, the number of people visiting our channel on the night, looking for score updates or access to the live stream, was ten-times what we would normally experience - even more so than when we cover two-day tournaments.”
In Williams' opinion, pool is regularly shown in the wrong light by the media and this match really proved pool's appeal beyond a select audience.
“It is a shame that traditionally pool is often portrayed as the ‘poor man's snooker' or a smaller version of snooker,” he said. “It is completely different to this portrayal.

“Saturday night proved that pool could be given the same pedestal as darts in terms of the crowd interaction and atmosphere. Inside that club it was electric, with a lot of banter between opposing sets of fans. It was more of a football ground atmosphere than pool in the traditional sense.”
Williams feels that in order to progress, receive more media coverage and be taken more seriously, pool needs to sell itself more in this manner.
Former world champion, Ben Davies who watched the match online agrees with Williams' assessment, saying: “We definitely need some tournaments with this kind of atmosphere, quiet is boring, it needs spicing up.”
In a tournament that has 128, sometimes 256 players, competing it is easy to see why this atmosphere is not obtained. In a room full of tables it would not be easy to manage, which is why Williams thinks that money matches and smaller invitational events could be the future of pool.
“I looked back on Saturday night and analysed everything that I felt was right about the evening,” he added. “The battle, the money, the pressure and, most importantly, the noise and atmosphere were all things that should be peeled and stuck into a regular format. There is no reason why, in my eyes, this could not be taken to invitational tournaments and TV events with a one-table set-up. This is why Cuesport TV is now developing ideas for a Premier League pool tournament with live streaming and TV coverage that features the top pool professionals.”
Other players, like Craig Marsh, agree with Williams, saying that professionals are becoming frustrated with the playing opportunities and the lack of vision of organisers and poor levels of sponsorship coming into the sport.
It is time for a renaissance of pool, returning it to its glory days of the 1970s and 80s, when it was a sport that was regularly seen on TV and in theatre arenas.
Further Information
The match between Gareth Potts and Oly Bale is now available for subscribers to view on-demand, at this time the match is available in its entirety but there will be edited versions very soon.
If you want to get involved in playing 8-ball pool in your local area then good sources of information can be found at the following websites:
·        Wpa8ball.co.uk (Welsh Pool Association)
·        Scottishpool.com (Scottish Pool Association)
·        Epa.org.uk (English Pool Association)
Cuesport TV continue regular live streaming coverage with the Berkshire Blackball Open on Sunday 31st January. You can also tune in to this event from 11am by visiting http://www.cuesport.tv/live.