Friday, 23 March 20122012's Quarterly Report from WPA President, Ian Anderson
I am pleased to send you all this update report on the latest happeningsof the WPA.
Although we are three months into 2012, we have held only one event so far, the men’s World 8-Ball Championship. But the rest of the year looks set to be a very busy time. I have an event calendar following that will demonstrate just how busy we expect to be.
As you’re aware, last year was a very successful year for the WPA, as we held a record number of events and payed out a record amount of prize money. We thought that it would be hard to see that being improved by much, especially considering the tough global financial situation. I am, however, very pleased to say that this year we are on course to easily surpass 2011’s efforts.
Growth in China continues. While we first thought that Beijing may not have an event this year, I am delighted to report that Beijing will indeed host an event and it will be the World Teams. Details are being finalised, but it is expected to feature four person teams, each team comprised of three men and one woman
China will also host another new ranking event in Harbin. In addition to these major events, China will have four other events for both men and women, 32 players in each division, with each division offering $50,000 prize money. In 2013 we hope to be able to co-ordinate these events to be played in either the week prior or the week after their major event. Also in Asia we will have four events in Manila, the men’s 10-Ball World Championship, the women’s 10-Ball World Championship, the Philippine Open and the World Summit. The Amway 9-Ball Open is once again scheduled, and hopefully we will see our first ever ranking event in Korea
Our relationship with Matchroom continues, this is our fourteenth year, and they have confirmed their three events, the World Pool Masters, the World Cup and the very successful and popular Mosconi Cup.
Interest in the Middle East is also increasing, and more WPA events in that region are likely in the future. The increase in popularity is due to the fact that two of our world championships (men’s 8-Ball & 9-Ball) are played there, and the good work being done throughout the region by the West Asian federation. The skill level of Middle Eastern players has increased significantly, which is a result of the opportunities their players now have to compete against the world’s leading players.
In addition, I am able to announce that this year we will have two ranking events in continents for the first time ever. It seems extraordinary that so far we haven’t had a ranking event in Europe, but that is about to change when the Oslo (Norway) Open will be played in August.
The other exciting bit of news is that we will have our first ranking event in South America, in Nicaragua. We very much appreciate the great work and dedication of the CPB President Carlos Rivera who has made this possible. Mr. Rivera hosted the world championship for juniors back in 2008, and from there he started an open professional tournament, the Nicaragua Open, which many of the leading players have competed in. He has now upped the ante to enable this event to have ranking status.
We are currently in discussions for a possible three more events, but a potential problem could be in acquiring suitable dates as our calendar is rather heavily booked. If we could add these events it would take the prize money offered this year to more than $4,000,000.
Of course all of this will only happen if the schedule remains intact. But whatever changes may occur during the year, at this stage it all looks very promising indeed.
We have also had continued success with one of our more popular initiatives, and that is the expanded media coverage of major WPA events. Pool journalist Ted Lerner has taken on the role of Press Officer, and the expansive coverage from these tournaments has allowed tens of thousands of fans around the world the chance to actively follow and enjoy our events.
What we’ve done media-wise so far is just the tip of the iceberg. We are currently exploring ideas to upgrade our media offerings so that we can greatly expand our fan base and better serve the millions of fans around the globe.
As usual, the WPA is open to ideas and comments regarding our activities. It is surely with an active and vibrant community all contributing that pool can continue to grow into the major sport that we all know it can be. I wish all of you, and your players all the very best success for the remainder of the season.