9.9.08

HOTSHOTS SCHEME ANNOUNCED (SORT OF)

According to the BBC, World Snooker is launching a new ‘Hotshots’ programme featuring five young players chosen to appeal to a younger audience.

The players are Mark Selby, Mark Allen, Jamie Cope, Daniel Wells and Michael Georgiou.

Actually, the BBC story makes an odd reference to ‘Michael Demetriou’ which could, for all we know, be Georgiou’s Equity name.

A PR firm, Capitalize, has been employed to handle the campaign. It seems strange that they should give an exclusive to BBC London rather than announcing this new project to the media at large or inviting anyone else along.

Stranger still is that one of the players (Georgiou) was only last week complaining in the Metro newspaper that he can’t make a living out of the game.

I assume this wasn't part of the PR campaign.

Snooker fans with long memories will recall the Young Player of Distinction scheme that ran between 2000 and 2002.

It featured the likes of Shaun Murphy, Stephen Maguire and Ali Carter and offered media training, dietary advice and all manner of other assistance.

The scheme was wound up because it was not felt the cost involved was justified.

The idea of Hotshots – according to the BBC – is to ‘promote the game to a younger audience.’ Expect some striking photos in the next couple of weeks.

For the record, I have nothing against the Hotshots campaign at all. It may transpire that it does nothing to increase interest in snooker but it certainly won’t be a negative for the sport (unless any of those involved are found to be getting up to no good).

What concerns me is the way these campaigns are run. If past evidence is anything to go by – World Snooker has employed three previous PR firms for various reasons in the last decade – the regular snooker media will be ignored (indeed they already appear to have been).

This would be a big mistake. Ultimately, only those with a commitment to snooker are genuinely interested in advancing its fortunes.

Still, it will be interesting to see how this campaign pans out.

7 comments:

ProSnookerBlog said...

Heard about this last week through this article:

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?The_snooker_champ_who's_out_of_pocket&in_article_id=286945&in_page_id=34&in_a_source=

Was wondering who the other four players would be, interesting stuff.

ProSnookerBlog said...

Which now I read properly is the article you mention :D

Monique said...

Every opportunity to develop and promote the game is welcome. However I think WPBSA could do more and different things if they want to promote the "characters" in the game. Allowing the players to express themselves and speak their mind without being under threat of disciplinary action would be a start. If what they say is "stirring the pot" ... bring the debate open and let fans and other parties take part of it. Internet today allows for enough social networking interaction to make that possible.
Bring back some team and double/mixed or "veterants" events with a more relaxed atmosphere and where some bantering between the players and with the audience is possible and welcome.
In the Q&A articles they do ... give more focus on what the players love and do out of snooker (if that's OK with them of course)
During tournaments organise "diversions" where some players, especially the young and coming ones, could be involved ...

You name it. Not everything certainly is practically possible ... but why not give it a thought?

Anonymous said...

People,

Though I agree somewhat with organising more relaxed events or allowing players to interact with the public a little more, or even let them speak their mind freely I think it actually raises another question: do the players want this themselves???

As it stands there are very few ranking tournaments to begin with. The prize money is less than 15 years ago thus making it tougher for the professionals to truly make a living out of it. On top of all this the further professionalisation of this wonderful game has made sure that there's always a lot at stake for the players.

Perhaps this type of scheme will indeed allow the true characters of the game to come to the fore...time will tell!

Monique said...

Well I have read again and again about having few ranking tournaments as compared to the past. I looked up and I'm a bit nonplussed. This season we will have 8 for sure, maybe 9 if Malta is ranking again which seems to be probable. The most we ever had, on 4 occurences only during the 90th, was 10. So we're back there or almost. With qualifs and all you can't squeeze much more in the calendar anyway.
So on that part it seems WSA did its homework.

Dave H said...

Not quite the case, Monique. There will probably be 9 ranking events this season but what's missing are all the invitation tournaments.

The first season I covered snooker I went to 17 tournaments, and that was down on what it was a few years earlier.

That said, snooker is in better shape now than it has been for about five years.

Monique said...

Thanks for the clarification Dave. Like many mainland European I'm only following snooker since a few years. I looked up Statman's info on rankers. But of course that does not take all the invitationals into account. Hence my (wrong) perception.