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Pro League Federation Management

#1 User is offline   Lurpoa 

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Posted 2017-March-06, 02:58

Mr Pierre Zimmermann, making an appel to the Euroean Bridge League, during the recent Cavendish

"Europe has fallen behind the States in terms of organization and marketing. We need to create structures where players can earn their living. In Europe this is not possible unless players go to the States several times a year to win money".

Just a suggestion, and hopefully the beginning of a constructive discussion:

Couldn't all our Pro Players not create a Pro League Association, just like in so many other sports.
In that way our Leagues and Federations would have more time and money to better manage the business of the millions of amateur players and amateur clubs. ....

Bob Herreman

#2 User is offline   MrAce 

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Posted 2017-March-06, 06:49

In order to create such a market in Europe, they need customers. Customers are the sponsors who pay money to pro players. In order to be successful in his attempt, he needs sponsors to hire a lot of European players PLUS American players PLUS big names of other zones. Do they have that many sponsors? In USA they have enough to hire almost all top American pros PLUS top European pros PLUS top pros of other zones, which makes US nationals tougher or equal to BB or any other world wide event.

If Europe does not have that many sponsors, one way to go around is to make these events attractive for American sponsors. So it actually does not matter where the sponsor is from as long as they find it attractive to play. Also do not forget, most of these pros also play in A LOT OF USA regionals.

But this does not come without a price. Europe has this "amateur spirit" when it comes to bridge and leans towards youth more than the people who just retired and has a fat wallet, as oppose to ACBL. In return Europe is in much better shape than USA when it comes to survive with this game. A lot of countries in Europe are promoted by their government, some accepted it as a sport. When you start that pro league in Europe it will probably help to top players of the zone to make money, but that does not necessarily mean it will make bridge more popular. Because once you become an organisation of "pro bridge" you will eventually lose your "amateur spirit" and become a league like ACBL where only the rich and whoever they hire can compete consistently.
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#3 User is offline   Aberlour10 

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Posted 2017-March-06, 12:21

I dont think better organization and marketing would change the current situation in Europe. These three facts make it impossible in the forseeable future:

A) very limited number of private sponsors

B) not enough ad revenues due to limited market

C) too little media income.

That's all.

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#4 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2017-March-06, 13:49

In a lot of other sports, the "pro players" get together to set up a league for them. But that's with lots of sponsorship (corporate, not bridge sponsor), and to get that, you need publicity.

In Canada, the top tier curlers banded together to figure out a way to make a professional circuit out of the random bonspiels they would play in, and outside the provincial/national qualifier system. It was rough, and took a few years, and they had the benefit of there already being a clear television audience they could take to the networks, and then to the sponsors. I'm not sure you could get that for Bridge; and I don't think the prize money (which also relies on corporate sponsorship and TV rights dollars) is going to be enough to provide a living either.

#5 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-March-07, 10:06

Former tennis player, and founder of other pro sports leagues, Larry King (not the TV host) tried about 15 years ago to establish a Bridge Pro Tour league. It failed miserably. It involved individual events where a portion of the entries would be paid out as prize money, and they played them at regionals and NABCs for a couple of years. There were never enough entries to produce substantial prizes.

#6 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2017-March-07, 13:19

Thus continuing to prove my point (among other things) that bridge is a partnership game, and that while people want system restrictions, what they mean is "I want to play my useful tools, I just don't want to have to play against their weird crap."

It was an individual to avoid issues around collusion; it was a single-system event because it was an individual; because they wanted "auctions spectators can understand"; and to emphasise the "real" part of the game - finding out the best player. As barmar says, it failed miserably (it didn't help that the 'single-system' they wanted to have the pros use was at least 20 years out of date, and even then it was a camel ("a horse designed by a committee")) (*).

Plus, with the current pro system in place, currently there is a way to guarantee $X (all-expenses) per working week. In order to play these events, not only would they have to risk something (entry fees, expenses), they would have to give up a week of work. In order to get the prizes high enough for that to be reasonable, the entry fees would have to be substantial, or there would have to be massive sponsorship, or the rewards of success in these events would have to be much more than just the money (as the World Curling Tour is, now, at least for Canadians; success in these high-profile, high-cash events translates directly to an easier path to becoming Provincial (and therefore the chance of being National, or World) champions; and can in and of itself result in a shot (or an easier shot) at being Canada's Olympic Team. The actual event prizes likely aren't enough for anyone to break even! (**))

(*) Note that the Bridge Pro Tour website is still available! (and is exactly how you'd expect a 12-year-derelict web site to look. Who's paying the costs?)
(**) The leading money winner has made almost $140k this season (since September)! Oh, but there's 4 people on the team (plus a coach). And they're flying to each event (and the leaders are flying from Sweden. But second is from Sault. Ste. Marie, ON). Plus hotel. Plus entry fees. Plus, that's $CAD, which - isn't worth as much as it was a couple of years ago. Plus all the practise time and fees. Plus the time they could be working a real job. And that's with fairly massive sponsorship, a national TV contract, and a viewership probably up there with the NFL or the Premier League (in Canada, not out in your countries where it's a religion). Bridge doesn't have any of that, but it does have all the costs...

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