3 Cushion What? Carom Player Earnings in 2018
Over the years I have always done my best to mix it up a bit when it comes to articles and newsletters.
If you have been a reader for some time then you will know this, if you are new then welcome.
This week I am touching on a topic that to be honest I have not really touched on much in the past. The main reason being is that the game I am going to talk about is not really played in the UK.
You will be hard pushed to find a 3-cushion billiard table in the UK. Those that do exist are in private homes.
It is a billiard game played on a table that has absolutely no pockets. Players have a cue ball each and the simplest way to describe it is as follows:
Each player has a cue ball. In order to score a point a player must make contact with both their opponents cue ball and the red object ball.
However, the cue ball that has been struck must also make contact with three cushions before the second object ball is hit.
This video shows you: Dick Jaspers Run of 22 in 3-cushion Billiards (Links to a video on YouTube).
However, this email isn't really about the game itself, more about the prize money that top players are earning in big tournaments.
I recently came across an article on the Kozoom website (they are responsible for a lot of 3-cushion streaming and TV coverage).
What struck me as really interesting was that the top players in this relatively little known Cue Sport were earning such good money.
The game is quite big in places like South Korea and Vietnam and there are also some strong player numbers in mainland Europe and over in the USA, but in comparison to snooker and pool the numbers are very small.
Yet, the top 15 players so far this year have all earned €32,000 or more in tournament prize money. With the top 5 all having earned €107,000 or more.
Frédéric Caudron leads the list with earnings of €221,000 to date this season.
The article clearly states that this is prize money only from major tournaments, so endorsements, exhibitions and smaller tournaments are not reflected in this list.
It is great to see an organising body being pro-active with regards prize money, especially when comparatively speaking it is the smaller sport.
What would Blackball players or top level 9-ball players give to be earning figures in those numbers?
The Eurotour, the top level of American pool competition in Europe has not really improved in the last 10 years with the winner of these major open events only taking home €4,500.
Whilst money is not everything, the Eurotour events do allow players to score points towards the Mosconi Cup and World rankings which can see them getting invites for other major events, it should be something if the professional game is to be taken seriously.
If 3-cushion billiards can do it then surely pool can do it as well?
Maybe it is a need for a change of guard at the top level of these sports in order to find the sponsorship required and drive the game to new levels.
This is the one game that is the exception to the rule.
Since Barry Hearn came in prize money has rocketed, but the game is very good to watch, is a great product and appeals to TV audiences which means sponsors are happy to back it.
However, if we forget the two games at the moment, the earnings of Caudron in the Carom world would actually place him 29th in the world snooker rankings so it shows what a sum of money he is earning just from the major events.
In comparison, the top player on the AZBilliards money list for pool so far this year is Shane Van Boening who has earned just $78,222 from tournaments. This would place him 68th in the World snooker list.
It is interesting that recently Matchroom Sport (owned by Hearn) have bought the rights to the US Open 9-ball Championships from 2019, and they have increased the field in the World Pool Masters to 24 players.
Both of these point to the fact that Hearn perhaps sees pool as an untapped area of his business. Maybe, and I hope so, he sees it as a game that can be revolutionised with major coverage, a decent circuit of tournaments much like he has done with darts and snooker.
Only time will tell though.
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Image credit: Billiardsforum.com