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Expanding The League

Why should I expand my pool leagues?


June 12, 2008
By Canadian Vending

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Why should I expand my pool leagues?
This question is sometimes being asked by league operators and
association charter holders – it is particularly asked by those with
several locations serving many teams.

Why should I expand my pool leagues?

This question is sometimes being asked by league operators and association charter holders – it is particularly asked by those with several locations serving many teams.

There is no question that the challenge of organizing new teams and leagues is hard work. It is little wonder that coordinators and charter holders who have successfully organized teams in all of their selected pool locations tend to relax and concentrate on other aspects of their business. They have a sense that they are set in those locations. Income is expanding and operator/location relations are improving.

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Unfortunately, this early organizational stage is also a vulnerable one.

At no time can we stop checking on our players and at no time can we stop our growth.

There is little doubt in the minds of charter holders that the leagues bring in values that far outweigh the effort. Additional profit, customer relations, business stability, and location security are part of the benefits. Few who now enjoy league advantages, operator, location owner or, indeed, team member, would willingly abandon their program now that it is under way.

Operators’ heavy investments in capital and time make it mandatory that they and their league structure be protected in order to maintain the cordiality that this activity promotes between their key locations and themselves.

Unfortunately, unless growth in active charters continues at a steady rate, their programs are likely targets for disruptions, shrinkage or total disintegration.

The reason for this troublesome phenomenon is a simple fact of communication – social pressure. People want to do what other people are doing.

When many players are involved in and talking about their league, their friends and associates want to be included. But, when only a few are involved and little expansion is perceived in either the location or the community, the attitude becomes one of “It can’t be very good, not many people are getting in.” As this occurs, the trend toward organized play reverses. Players start to pull out to join their non-league friends instead of becoming a magnet to attract players into the leagues.

One charter holder in an area can do a great deal to create awareness by setting up one or two teams in each of their locations. But if that program doesn’t show expansion each season, the old “there aren’t many players in it” refrain can start. So the answer appears to be, when you have an active program on one night of the week, organize a second night in the same location.

There is some truth that you may run out of “good” or “top” players, and it takes time to develop more. The way to use this to your advantage is to set up “limit” leagues. For example, a league where no players are eligible with a handicap of five or more; or start a beginner’s league. This system will improve the ability of the less talented players and provide an opportunity to win while competing against players of equal skill.

A second and third league operating in the same location creates the sense of “if we want to play here, we must join the league.” League play offers the best timeslots of the evening and the tables are held ready for that.

When this feeling begins to surface, the organization of new recruits, teams and leagues becomes much easier.

pg24When several locations have room for only one table and have one or two teams playing one night each week, it becomes expensive to concentrate operator manpower on those locations. The solution is to organize three or four leagues playing up to four or five nights each week. With this activity, justification for increased operator attention can be found.

To this dimension can be added the fact that often small, one-table locations are only minimal in their contribution to the operator volume. A second, third and fourth league using those small locations can turn them into winners. The increased volume throughout the week also makes these “so-so” places, the places to be.

Possibly the greatest indictment against a location with minimal activity is that unless corrected, (through more league activity) the customers who come in are assailed by boredom and ho-hum ennui, which soon causes them to quit and go elsewhere.

On this basis, everyone loses. The location continues downhill, the operator spends more on shrinking returns and the players look for something else to do, often urging current team members in otherwise active locations to follow suit.

When locations with their own tables see these “so-so” locations begin to bloom with three and four scheduled “busy” leagues nights, they often take a second look at their own security. They can’t compete on a regional, provincial/state and national basis, so they often lose customers who leave in search of this kind of
competition.

This article was submitted by the Valley National 8-ball League Association. Visit their website, www.vnea.com, to learn more about their charter league programs and the 26th annual International Championships in Las Vegas on May 25-June 3, 2006.


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