16.9.11

PLAYING THE LONG GAME

The glass half empty brigade had a field day yesterday following a poor crowd turnout for the first session of the Brazil Masters.

Literally within minutes of the tournament starting the internet was telling us all the things that had been done wrong and all the places snooker should go to instead of Brazil.

In the age in which we live, perspective plays second place to opinion.

Not for me. I'd like to see the viewing figures at the end of the tournament before deciding whether it has been a success or not.

Ticket sales were never going to be high. This is a private promotion by a Brazilian company who had originally planned to stage the tournament in bustling Sao Paulo but moved it to Santa Catarina, an exclusive resort miles from anywhere.

It is safe to assume a shedload of tourism cash persuaded them this was a good idea.

You see, promoters like to make a return. It's this thing called business.

This was nothing to do with World Snooker but if you've read the September issue of Snooker Scene you will know that Barry Hearn is going to Brazil to "have a chat" with the promoters about a few aspects of the tournament.

It would certainly make more sense to play it in one of Brazil's big cities - if it is economically viable.

Clearly ticket prices are too high, although crowds improved for Igor Figueiredo's match against Jamie Cope last night.

However, as in most things, history tells us that all this is nothing new.

I was reminded that the first year of the first ranking event in Germany failed to bring out the crowds to such an extent that John Parrott was moved to comment: "I was put off by a crowd disturbance. She moved."

Similarly, the early Chinese events struggled to pull anyone through the door - not that that's ever been the sole indicator of the success of a tournament in any case.

We've had one day of professional snooker in Brazil. It's a bit early to write off an entire market just because it hasn't all been perfect so far.

38 comments:

Josef said...

I appreciate your levelheadedness. Let's give the Brazilians a chance.

Seifer Almasy said...

I think the problem was not the place (although Brazil isn't the best option), but more the way it has been handled. Ticket prices are way too high and no incentive was given to the players to attend it.

Witz78 said...

I just feel there should have been some World Snooker stipulations placed on the promoters, namely that the event should be priced accordingly and played in a more populated area to maximise crowd potentials and exposure.

I cant help but think with the location the tournaments being played at, its more aimed at ex-pats and fat cats, than your average Brazilian, and also it gives the event more of a one-off quick money maker feel to it than one that we will see grow in the future and become a regular fixture on the calendar.

Hopefully Igors excellent win gives the event and sport some good publicity locally.

The story last night of a guy who turned up late for the Selby game so tried to just go in for the Ebdon - Lee game but was told hed have to pay 55quid just for this match is just typical short sightedness.

A full arena of tickets sold at 1/4 the price would do the event far more than a handful of people dotted about the arena paying top dollar. Just make snooker seem more of an elitist sport and stuffy im afraid.

And as for TV viewers etc being the most important thing, well sure this is vital and proof that theres interest but if crowds are going to be poor is there any point going to Brazil. If theres demand to view on tv but no demand to watch at an arena then keeping events closer to home but selling TV events to Brazil is a better bet instead.

However i dont think that question can be asked or answered yet because until an event is held in Brazil in a more populous location and at more affordable prices, we will never be truly be sure as to the real interest and potential in Brazil.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Seifer (and God I want to cut off my fingers for typing that!). World Snooker shouldn't have entrusted an inaugural event to private promoters, it borders onto to negligence. It's ok once you get a foot in the door, but the implications for snooker in South America if this event sinks like a stone don't bear thinking about...

The problem is, even if the event gets decent viewing figures it will still be perceived as a failure if it has a low turn out—the BBC events have been getting decent viewing figures for years and still ranks second to football for UK sport, but snooker is perceived as a dying sport because everyone would rather watch it on TV! The omens aren't good: no top players, extortionate ticket prices, played in an exclusive resort; it's like that film, The Producers, where they are actually try to create a flop! Even by some miracle it turns out to be a reasonable success, it could have been so much more successful if so many bad decisions hadn't been made. First proper botch job of the Hearn regime.

jibjib said...

You're spot on with the perspective v opinion comment Dave, and of course it's too early to write off Brazil as a potential market for snooker.

However, whilst viewing figures are important, the impression conveyed by an empty auditorium (or tent!) is never a good one. I'm quite sure the rows of empty seats that were an all too familiar sight under previous World Snooker regimes played their part in the declining TV audiences during the 90s and 2000s. A lack of atmosphere in the venue can really come over on the TV screen and watching Selby v Bingham playing in front of a couple of security guards yesterday was a bit of a surreal moment. The absence of a crowd meant it felt like the match didn't really matter and that we were just looking in on a private practice session.

For me, bums on seats is the main way to grow an event and to sustain its popularity, and I'm pretty sure Bazza would feel the same way about that too. Lessons to be learnt for the next venture in Brazil I fancy.

Anonymous said...

yes uncle Barry should give each his little children a lollipop so they remember they actually play a sport professionally.

incentive ?

get real the only incentive needed is the opportunity to help snooker get bigger its not all about lining their own greedy pockets.

Anonymous said...

If an event is not put together using the experience of people who know the best possible way for all concerned, then you will get a slow start. I am sure that snooker in Brazil will be built up but it is a pity that Barry Hearn did not have somebody reveiwing all the points well before the event ever took place.
Tony

Anonymous said...

Im here dave and ita. By no means a disaster. The venue is terrific but I'm sure would have attracted more people in sp. There's no leeway discounts on ticket prices either. The snooker conditions for players are perfect and I don't believe there is a lack of prize money for the players. It's announced on the site that players are on 4 grand in dollars for first round losers plus 4 grand appearance. 5 thousand pounds for turning up shouldn't be sniffed at and all this talk is just an excuse for some players with short memories.

Monique said...

Indeed let's the tournament unfold and here is wishing all the best to the players who are playing in it, especially the local boys.

But I'm nonplussed all the same at some of the choices made here and I'd really appreciate if Barry Hearn could answer the following questions

1. Why Brazil of all places? What are the "market" perspectives like there? How has this been assessed if at all?

2. Considering the very tight schedule (just after Shanghai) and the fact that Brazil would be an "unknown market" for most, including the players I'd guess, has any effort been put into communicating them the goals and perspectives of this endeavour? What is there for the future of the game and ultimately their future as well?

3. This is now taking place in a very posh holiday resorts, with very steep prices, be it the tickets or the drinks in the bar (see Michaela tweets about the price of a glass of wine ;) ). Is this the image we want to see associated with snooker, in particular in a country where so many are poor, even very poor? Is this the best way to promote the sport in that economical environment? A sport, let's not forget it, that has very strong roots in the working class and the social clubs.

Anonymous said...

Monique

1.I guess the reason Hearn went to Brazil was because the money and the then venue the promoters offered seemed the best and it fit with Hearn's attempt to globalize the sport with it being in South America

2. Apparentely the dates the Brazilian promoters offered Hearn were the best they could do, yes a shame it came so close to Shanghai but it doesn't excuse Williams, Higgins, O'Sullivan's etc refusal to go or the attempt by Ding and Trump to play an exhibition match at the same time, if Hearn succeeds, the players succeed and they're too self obsessed to realise that.

3. I agree with you on the stupid ticket prices and the stupider decision to move it away from Sao Paulo, don't know what they were thinking there.

Anonymous said...

monique

why did World Snooker go to germany why didnt they stay in britain ?

you got to try it out otherwise you get nowhere.

Seifer Almasy said...

get real the only incentive needed is the opportunity to help snooker get bigger its not all about lining their own greedy pockets.
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This is the real world.

Seifer Almasy said...

why did World Snooker go to germany why didnt they stay in britain ?
---------

You ignored what she said. Germany is a sane choice because it is Europe and there is a large market in Europe these days.

This is Brazil. She asked why Brazil.

Betty Logan said...

No point promoting snooker to the poor in Brazil, they're too poor to provide sponsors with an incentive to back the tournament. Promoting the game to Brazil's middle classes seems the way forward to derive an income from this particular country. The middle classes won't want to associate with the street element, so they would probably prefer to pay a bit more to price out the peasantry. The idea that snooker should stay locked in to its British social origins is the most absurd of many absurd ideas I've seen on this blog in recent times. Most people in foreign countries come into contact with snooker for the first time on TV nowadays, not in a seedy billiards hall. They see men kitted out in formal dress and competing at the highest level. If you're watching the sport in Latvia or wherever, snooker looks like it's the game of the English gentry.

Anonymous said...

not one of your best blogs dave

i am not saying i disagree with the things you say, but more in the way you say them.

if i, or others, post negative comments that are happening, we are not saying everything should be perfect as an ideal world can be impossible....

that doesnt give us the right to call the glass empty if it is empty

or half full if its half full

Anonymous said...

id rather watch a tv match with no audience than one with 20% full

Anonymous said...

why brazil?

becuase there could be a big market there in the future

just like theres a big market in germany now, but there wasnt a few years ago

Anonymous said...

For some reason, my understanding is that snooker or it's variant is a very popular sport in Brazil, if this is indeed true, then I can see it got a lot of potential.

Somehow I'm getting the impression that Brazil's snooker popularity is almost as strong as in China.

Janie (eager for Riga) Watkins said...

@ Betty

great comments - but re Latvia quite funny as Dave can also attest

If you've ever been in a Latvian Billiard venue, seedy would be a very mild word to describe the venue!!!

This is a cue for Dave to regale you with memories of a radio blasting out Abba and Elton John for two weeks non stop!!

And I won't even mention the flashing Neon sign at the entrance to the club flashing the word **X with an arrow pointing to where you should go!!

147 said...

Betty its absolutely repulsive that you describe human beings as peasants.

Anonymous said...

you just showed yourself to be a bit ignarant seifer.

when snooker first went to germany there was less there than in brazil this week watching.

then it started growing doh

Seifer Almasy said...

to be a bit ignarant seifer.
---------

I will worry about that when I spell like you ;) See we can both play the useless attacking game can't we? Or we can instead learn to attack the opinion not the person.

The point I and others made is that Brazil is not Germany and it does seem a tad weird to choose that place over mainland Europe.

tatannes XI said...

John Parrott

"I was put off by a crowd disturbance. She moved"

just great !

Urindragon said...

I'm from Latvia and there are some nice halls here as well.

Monique said...

Betty, have a good hard look at the players and their background, or listen to them in press conferences. Even in 3 pieces suit. They are not gentry at all.
Contrary to you I AM living outside UK and billiards is and remains a working class game. Not snooker in my country when I was a kid, but carom and 3-cushions. Elsewhere it will be pyramid, or 10-balls snooker ... or whatever. Sponsors are after audiences. I'd rather have my sport of choice to be inclusive as opposed to exclusive. Football in Brazil is absolutely massive and I don't see sponsors turning their back to it because kids in the favelas are crazy with it.
And BTW someone who is there said on snookerisland yesterday that most yesterday didn't pay to their seats in there, including himself. They are just desperate to fill the arena now.
And last thing, developing the game in a country is not just about TV audiences. It's about getting kids to take it on and try. Amateurs in numbers is what will provide a platform for global expansion. Like in China. Like it's starting to build up in Germany. Being snobbish and contemptuous towards people of humble origin isn't the way forward.

Anonymous said...

well dodged seifer
fiarly certain your posts on here in the last week have been littered by spelling mistakes.

when someone calls your opinion ignOrant, you retailate against the person, citing better speelling.

in fact yours is far from good.

you really have no shame at all

Anonymous said...

the point is seifer Germany was not Germany until someone made a decition "i know lets play snooker there"

Anonymous said...

infact seifer all thoes years ago if nevil chaimberlain (the British Army officer) after he invented snooker in India had decided not to persue it and not braught it over to Britain you would have nothing to moan about :-)

Anonymous said...

I find it a little sad that Miss Watkins needs to put Latvia down but maybe she got her geography wrong. Latvia held a number of international events which included the IBSF Under 21’s and European Championships, hosted as well as any others I have seen. The rounds were played in a club, which I found to be excellent, with the finals in a special venue. Their enthusiasm and hospitality were second to none and dare I say it, there was a full house for the finals every time. Your comments were thoughtless Janie but……
Tony

Seifer Almasy said...

nevil chaimberlain ?

Oh you mean Neville Chamberlain?

I haven't the foggiest what you are on about. All I mentioned was that Brazil was not a clear cut decision when there is a market in Europe which seems much more logical AT THE PRESENT TIME.

Anonymous said...

its not
logical to the majority who are lookin at the bigger picture

Anonymous said...

I live in Brazil and even for me it was impossible to attend this event. The local is very far from the main cities. The ticket price is ridiculous. If you call to the company that organizes the event, they can't give a simple information. When you watch the game on TV you can hear de audience making noises. As a Brazilian, I'm ashamed.

Anonymous said...

seifer whats the point concentrating on europe tharts more pointless than your posting.

But Why? said...

the point is seifer Germany was not Germany until someone made a decition "i know lets play snooker there"

Eh what? The German Masters was the biggest no-brainer ever. It had been obvious for 2-3 years before that a Ranking event in Berlin would be a success. The events there 20 years ago only lasted a few years ago and didn't lead to anything.

Anonymous said...

it did lead to something it lead to the start of intrest .

are people this unbelievably stupid thinking tournements only turned up and bang they success it takes years to get to the position germany is in today.

what do people want just pack up go home and not try to plant a seed in a new country ? like has happened in china and germany.

doh

Anonymous said...

its ok guys

seifer is busy trolling the newer posts and has maybe forgot about this one or cant think of any nonsense to post to flame up the comments on this section again.

Janie Watkins said...

To Urindragon

Hi
I wasn't running down billiard clubs in Riga.
I've been many times to several venues and absolutely love the place.
And we're looking forward to coming back next year to Latvia with the EBSA for another European Event.

Alan Craig said...

I agree with Monique.

In order to stage successful pro events anywhere we have to get the game established at grass roots.

I wouldn't pay to watch the best American baseball players at a Scottish ground next week or any time soon.