Just a quick reminder to everyone that ESPN will be broadcasting the 2009 WPBA San Diego Classic this Sunday from 1PM to 4PM EST. This is a great opportunity to see some first rate pool as our good friend (and fellow Debbie supporter) Monica Webb put on quite a show. In her match against Ga Young Kim, Monica makes a couple of completely sick jump shots that simply must be seen.
Here’s the schedule:
WPBA San Diego Classic Semifinal #1 1PM EST ESPN
WPBA San Diego Classic Semifinal #2 2PM EST ESPN
WPBA San Diego Classic Semifinal #3 3PM EST ESPN
As you probably know, PoolDawg is a sponsor of the WPBA. As a sponsor, we get to see a little bit of a sneak peek of how the San Diego Classic is going to look. From what I’ve seen, I’m just as giddy as a schoolgirl… err… well maybe not a schoolgirl, but quite happy nonetheless.
It seems that the folks over at the WPBA and ESPN have decided to start experimenting with how they shoot billiards programming to make it more interesting and “user friendly” for the casual viewer. From what I could see, there are two new features that will be debuted at the Classic.
The coolest new feature they have is the new “cue view” which Ewa and Mitch use to talkabout how the players are going to hit the cue ball in order to get from Point A to Point B. For my money, this has a huge potential impact for the casual viewer. If you don’t know much about the game, it can be really hard to understand how the pros control the cue ball. This new feature should really open the eyes of the casual fan.
The other big change is the rack and ball counter. Matches will now have a persistant score “bug” at the top of the screen, telling the viewer the score of the match, what ball the shooter is on, how many balls each player has potted for the rack and what rack they’re currently on.
These probably aren’t the “magic bullet” that the peek cam and the odds trackers were for poker, but they are a huge step in the right direction. The only way to fix pool on TV (and yes, it is in need of an overhaul) is to try different things out and I applaud both the WPBA and ESPN for taking that step and trying some new stuff out.
As sponsors, we got to see an advance copy of the San Diego Classic which will be airing on ESPN June 28th and there’s some very cool new stuff that should help casual viewers get a better understanding of the game.
The two biggest changes to the programming are an “English Cam” that shows you where the player is hitting the cue ball and a new ball tracker in the scoring bug. The ball tracker keeps track of what ball the player is currently on, who sank which balls and the balls that were potted on the break. The English viewer shows you exactly where the player is hitting the cue ball in order to move the ball.
For the experienced player, these are not terribly important, but for the casual viewer, these two tools will give the viewer some great new insights into the game. In the case of the English cam, it will give Mitch and Ewa a means to describe exactly how the shots are being made and how players are able to control the ball.
This is a hugely important first step in making pool a game that casual viewers can grasp. They aren’t as revolutionary as the poker “peek cam”, but they do represent a nice evolution in the way pool is broadcast on TV.