Supercharged Pool


Welcome back to American billiard radio. Today is Thursday March thirteenth. Personally I'm going back and forth between following the Diamond Las Vegas Open on. Cbs ON DEMAND DOT COM and watching the number of events in tourist attractions announced. They're closing due to the covert nineteen virus. As of today the World Pool Masters the Bucharest Open and this weekend's Predator pro-am tour stop are either cancelled or postponed the super billiards expo and the US Open are still on at this moment. But they both said they're monitoring the situation. Allan Hopkins is supposed to be making a decision early next week. That is based on an announcement that was made on the Super Billiards Expo website. As for the interview for this show I ran a story on easy billiards a couple of weeks ago called pools spin doctor and it was about per Haagen. Who had a an agency where he was representing professional poker players and he closed that agency down and now he's trying to duplicate that effort for professional pool. I thought it was a very interesting article and thought per would be a great interview subject so I had a chance to talk to him about his ideas about pool and how to promote and how to make things better and and I do think it's a very interesting conversation so without further ado. I give you per. Haagen joined now all the way from Norway by its per Haagen right correct okay per is. The owner of an agency called supercharged. And if you if you haven't read the article yet which you should go back and do supercharged is an agency that represents not just pool players. It looks to me and you can correct me if I'm wrong but pool players and other parts of the billiards industries can you. Can you explain a little bit? What it is you do and how you got there. Sure Mike Well OUR AGENCY. Basically has two divisions sounds. Sounds like we're a big big agency would not just a couple of couple of actually with three people So one of the divisions is player management's And we take the experience from the poker industry? We had a good run into poker industry in the early. Two thousand until two thousand six So what we do is that we make sure that we find good ambassadors for In this case the billiard brands We make sure that you know we find good candidates that can represents their brands in the way that they want and get the exposure that they kind of deserve because right now We see kind of similar Symptoms as in the poker industry had early. That was where were kind of throwing good money officer not necessarily the best ambassadors And so that's one part of the agency and the other is kind of general marketing specializing in online marketing And we try to of course connect the two together So yeah now you said that you came over from the poker world What what differences in. What similarities do you see between the poker world and the pool world right now well me start with the differences I think that's obviously poker. Everybody knows Fokker had massive price pools at least compared to The two main reasons for that is obviously the cost of buying into the big poker tournaments thousands of dollars main events. The World Series is ten thousand so And obviously that is one of the reasons but also share number offense in the in big poker tournaments that kind of build a big price for But also I think it's possible for pool to to get much much bigger priciples compared to today. But obviously then you would. You'd have to raise the entry fees and Do that obviously. Not a whole lot of people would be willing to pay. You know thousand two thousand dollars to play in the pool tournaments when you're playing against some best plays in the well so maybe you should look into what vice the traffic from. Fokker. And that's satellites Ninety percent of all the participants in the big poker tremendous state. They they hail from satellite tournaments being both on and offline. Obviously we call them play pool tournaments Who Online but I think that's as a replacement or maybe as an addition to the weekly tournaments you can find a way of wrestling tournaments which basically operates as satellites into the big Tournaments and Then maybe we could have like entry fees being a couple of thousands of dollars that would also obviously race builds the price fall into much much higher price than we have today making it easier for the professionals to make actually a decent living compatriots dates. They you know they have to be in the semi-finals it's almost break-even And that's the way it should be So that's obviously one of the big big big differences between Pool Poker and pool And obviously poker has way more airtime on mainstream media the pool That's something that we need to do but for us to get back on mainstream media We need to look at the the professionalism in the whole industry and I'm obviously not criticizing anybody but maybe we need to put finger in the ground and and take a look at what we're doing and why you know sports like team sports than the and those kind of sports we'll get way more airtime than compared to Pretty sure that people have more people have played pool. Then played around with timber. Sports so So that's one of the things and also you know again. I'm not criticizing anybody. But in the poker industry we get we have a law of personalities with with you know big characters that creates an interest from the audience well defined. Sushi will So I think also in pool perhaps. Maybe we're kind of lacking there. Maybe we should have you know we. We've got a few personalities which are interesting to watch but maybe you know the pool players they should you know kind of Give more of themselves when they're playing tournaments which are televised so streams. I mean show more emotion than maybe we should you know. Try to adopt every twenty. They should be more like the Mosconi Cup with with audience cheering and the players jumping on the table. We need to make the sport way more interesting than it is today for the audience. If the mainstream media is more airtime we need you know right now. Plays can spend two minutes on the shots and you know. That's not interesting for for for a new tool spectator so we should have like shot. Clocks interesting players Audience cheering and east kind of seeing. That's you know that's pretty. Typical for poker but in pool is almost like a cemetery when you were when you watch the much. How do and I'm I'm sorry to compare your your in Norway. So you're looking at European players where I'm more familiar with American players. What it that you think the Americans or why is it that you think the Americans struggle with the idea of of putting their character out there some of them don't but you're like you said the majority of them don't well? I think I'm first of all. I don't think that this is big enough that we can look at it in a segregated way that I think that we need to look at the sport as a whole is not like you have the Asian markets Marican and European. I think as a whole I think we're lacking in you know personalities whether it's you know german-american Filipino. Doesn't really matter to me because sports is so small we have to look at it as a whole I I'm not quite sure why of we don't have more interesting characters but I definitely think that's the ones today who are at a certain level where they travel the world and play tournaments. They should take a look at them. South maybe you know. Kind of gave more of themselves in interviews when playing matches and These kind of things because you have to be an interesting character to get followers and followers. It's you know it's the name of the game if you if you to get sponsored You need to how followers otherwise you're just visible when you're paying a fee table which doesn't happen all the time and you're absolutely not guaranteed to make it to the final so So you have to. You have to get followers and they have to work out every single day At least you have. You need a structured way of building your followers. So maybe you're not you know the world's best player but you might be the world's most interesting player and that kind of built a base of followers and as soon as you reach a certain level of followers you will be interesting for sponsors because then you'll have tangible numbers you've got ten thousand followers you know one million likes lost year. That's kind of tangible. And that's something that sponsors interested in putting money into because they know what they're going to get in return. It's interesting that you talk about the social media aspect of things. Do you think maybe and again I don't. I don't want to just say American players because I think I think there are players like this all over the world. Do you think maybe some of the players don't want to have their life out there. Twenty four seven. They don't want a sponsor contacting them and saying you know that thing that you tweeted last night at two. Am when you were at the club with your friends. That didn't Cheyne row well on you and then that means it didn't shine role on us. I mean do you think some players just they're not ready for that kind of flash light being shined at their life. Oh absolutely I mean for sure. There's no doubt that Being sponsored pro automatically yours spokesperson. You are in the basketball. For Brown's that's not for everybody We had a couple of you know polka place. Which were you know? Had Lot of tens of thousands of followers they were always you know Out there in spotlight. But they didn't want to get any sponsorship money they they would rather just pay everything themselves because like you said that being an ambassador comes with God you have to do certain things in return. And they didn't want to do that they just wanted to focus on you know in in case their own poker game and but. I'm not sure it's fair to compare because these guys than one you know three four five six million dollars so they can. Actually they can afford going around and paying everything themselves. But I think that's the general pool player would very much like to play way more tournaments the big ones than they actually are doing and one way is obviously having sponsor but As as we all know you have to give something in return to his sponsor and that's what I eat today. That's you know. Lack of a better word. I guess kind of annoyed when I see some sponsors are giving you know good sponsorship money And deals to players doing absolutely nothing in return and it kind of you know these companies. They are all other aspects of their business. They're always thinking about the return on their investments. Whether it's you know buying equipment for their new factory or whatever But suddenly when it comes to sponsorship it seems all all logic about return on investment is thrown out the window and they don't you know they they seem pretty okay with there's sponsored players just wearing a patch when they're playing at a TV TV table or you know doing very short social media posting once in a while and tagging them and and that's pretty much what they do and that's in my opinion that's not that's not a good return on the on the investment and they get way more back if they just you know focused on actually looking at it as a business relationship between us the company and you the the Boston order spokesperson They should and that's what we did with poker all so we could see that a lot of p players were getting you know pretty decent amount of money every year to go all over the world and played the poker tournaments but they weren't doing anything back besides wearing their local The that's that's why I initially started the poker agency because I could see that. There's there's a gap and we could fill it's We pretty much took off during our first year of business because the sponsors they could see that by using us as a as a bridge between the players in the market and themselves they would get way better return on investments and they play with some of the all over the media. They would do social media stuff and and doing interviews with an all flying media outlets and all this and so it wasn't no brainer so in the end Actually we didn't have to chase the sponsors the sponsors they came to US asking. Listen we will like to strengthen our position in France. Can you find a good candidates? We can sponsor in France and obviously we already have a French player in our roster affairs. So he could just over like okay. So here's this guy. You San many of these many followers. He's doing this and that so it's a it's a it's a no brainer and they just you know. Accept the that player because they knew that's Whenever we percents candidates from they knew they would get. We could return on their investment packing. That's what we're slowly trying to do now in the pool industry and I can see that some Well the interview was just a few weeks ago. I basically just started the agency like two months ago and off the interview like you see a lot of players contacting US asking if we can represent them and also couple of brands within the industry also asking you know we need help Both on general marketing but also with thinking about you know what should we do with our sponsored pros? How can we get more return? And and all of these things that we kind of specialize in and So we're trying to working with a couple of brands son Just you know a player while. He's not a player in competitions. But he's maybe you know the world's most famous curious and we just signed him to the agency because he you know he. He liked what he heard in our Negotiations if you will so That's what we're trying right now is to make the billion industry see. That's okay. We can get away better return on investment and maybe you know maybe we don't need a bit sponsored players. Maybe we need just twenty. Great wants that will give way better again. Return on the investments we're trying to kind of like make their attitude toward starts. That's train of thoughts again. This is gonNA sound beating a dead horse and believe me when I say this. I'm not I'm not. Comparing American and European players like it sounds like him as an example though European players there and I mentioned it because American fans maybe aren't as familiar with the the the one B priority players. I mean they know Ralph they know torsten they know Mika they know Joshua they know excellent you could make a list of probably twenty guys that are the absolute top but last year at the International. Max lechner comes over. He has a great tournament. American's probably don't know him. So if if if I were a Max. Leshner a year ago and I hadn't had a great tournament. I hadn't beat Shane in a major event. What can I do to to make those sponsors be interested in me because you know yeah I can run a table but so can the guy at the table next to me and so can the girl two tables over? So so what can a player due to put themselves out there and draw sponsor interest sure and. I totally get where you're calling me from you know let me just take one example and You know he's he's Greek but he lives in Norway and he actually played at the same club. as being also Domino's the jump Master Yell at Office. Hope I'm pronouncing that correct Anyway so he's you know he's. He's a Greek living in both Greece and Norway. Anyway he's you know. He was struggling with exactly what you said. How can I put myself out there? And that was like a year year and a half ago and I got to know him and he learned about my history about you. Know being a manager Having Agency for poker players and I said listen the methods I is is just the same and let's sit down together and make kind of like marketing plan for you. How can you know the world can get the world's eyes on me and so we did a plan and he is probably the hardest working guy when it comes to these things in the entire Pool Industry so it did what we would be agreed that he should do and kind of took it like Like a part time job. I'm going to produce videos. I'm GONNA do this. I'm going to do that Sunday. You know we he lost here. He accumulated over two million views on his videos The halfway through there. We got him a sponsor That's basically entirely just because we made the marketing plan he did the work produced videos and He got attention and it doesn't hurt that he's probably one of the best players with the short steak as well And he travels not so now basically travels all over the world place tournaments because he he got the great sponsorship deal and And that is the direct result. Not because he finished like third a couple of times in the euro tour and and he won a couple of international tournaments here in Europe. Not because because he made himself you know interesting and it's something. He got a lot of followers and he always makes it a point to interact with the followers. So he's posting something He gets you know a bunch of replies and he always rip replies to the answers and the questions and whatever on his posting so he's always on top of it and so his fanbase if you if you can call it that they kind of feel connected to him. So whenever he recommends product from you know a couple of sponsors now so they. He's built trust with them and And he can show them. Listen with this. I'm using on my jump. Cue I can make the jump shots and so can you. You know that's employed you know but That's a direct result of his hard work. And actually it's not. It's not not much work if we have to be on this compared to a lot for the jobs And it's basically doing what you love as well so he doesn't view it as work But so so he he was really thankful and I was thrilled for him. That he got the sponsors and It just goes to show that the methods that we proven methods from the Polk Institute. And it's not magic but it just it's just a matter of making a plan and you know going through with it and then it's up to the talent or D- in this case the the player to actually go ahead and you know do what she's supposed to do and that's the main problem. I see today with four players that they have sponsors but very rarely you'll see them do in return they do something but not nearly enough. Not even ten percents what they actually should so so And obviously there's GonNa be pooled players listening here who scotus sponsor or maybe a video six months ago and things. That's you know that's that's okay. I did something return. He's not GonNa like what I'm saying. But I'm basically interested in making the Bill Brown understanding that they should have ambassadors. Who actually does something in return? So they'll make money at least break even from the particip- and the players they can have a long term sponsorship relationship with those sponsors because they you know they appreciate each other not. Just give me some money. Give me some equipment Once you've gotten that zero basically you don't do anything in return. These kind of players need to be cut from the PRO teams. You know they might get a second chance or whatever but if you're not doing it today probably not GonNa do it tomorrow and So they they don't serve the sponsorship money or equipment or whatever they get if they don't do anything in return and it just taking up space for the players since actually willing to put into extra work and Repay the love they get from the sponsors the way you describe it and I would be in complete agreement It seems like the mentality now is. I'm a pool player. I'm going to put in my effort. Well I mean there's not it's not like they actively go out there banging on doors trying to find sponsors but it come. It seems that when they do get a sponsor or two they feel that okay. My my work is done. I've I've gotten a sponsor but the way you describe it really there's there's even more work a higher level of work that is required once you have that sponsor. This is something the goes back to a conversation. I had with Kelly Fisher and she talked about everything that she does for her sponsors but is that I mean. Is that kind of where you're going. Where you know the level of work really kicks off once you get those sponsors. I mean I. If you're if you're an aspiring talents you know like Max. You mentioned him And I think that's fair. Door was in this category almost just one year ago but you see he won the world championship nine ball. But I think that if you're an expiring talent looking to professionalize Yourself and your brands in this sport and you WanNa reach as far as you can go. You know you have to go to first goal should be making the Mosconi Cup team. Whether you're European or American I should be like the main goal and then obviously in between you you need to finish high into tournaments. The big ones son obviously the local ones as well. But I should be like your top goals but to to get there. You need a lot of money in a lot of funding and If you don't have any sponsors you'd still do what downloads it do. All the good work put in the extra hours get followers and then when you bang on the doors for sponsors they will see that for the last half year guy. He's like a million views. It's much easier to put money into something that compared to okay. Listen so I finished ninth in the. Us Open sponsorship. Money please I've got like three hundred friends on facebook and you don't even you know that's that's just ridiculous to think that you're going to get even free you know whatever but that's kind of like the mentality of amongst a lot of full fares and it was inappropriate industry as well you know. You have one world series final table and suddenly you know. You're a big shot deserving under the solvency of sponsors money. That's not how it works. So if you don't have a sponsor just wake up tomorrow. Just make a plan get followers and You know make yourself interesting. You don't have to be the world's best player but you have to be interesting. You have to have a currency so if you've got a jump shots okay. Use that angles Can't think of any other examples fifty miles an hour break. Okay so use that as your thing but make yourself interesting get followers and then the sponsors will follow. But but you can't sit around the wait and after you get sponsored then you start. You have to start. You know right right now right tomorrow. If he wants to go down that route and once you get a sponsorship deal you have be prepared to put in a lot of work when I say a lot of work. I'm talking about fifteen twenty hours a week. That's not a lot of work but You have to be paid to do The work necessary to you. Pay again the love that the sponsors are showing you because otherwise would just in bad circle throwing money off the players and they not be paying it so the sponsor they won't increase their sales of ood and so it's basically state school and you don't Any positives relationships so Like Kelly said you definitely you have to if you WANNA sponsor yeah. I'm willing to put in the work. It's not enough just wearing a little patch and playing The occasional big tournaments and once in a while you hit the TV table and it's not. It's not enough by far so Just look at you know what the big soccer players or other big sports. What they're doing. I mean they're earning millions of dollars every year. They're still putting in a lot of work for the sponsors. Do you think that? Do you think that the players Su are are going to be accepting of the idea that they can go about their lives the way they do? And let's say they come on board with you and they've got a sponsor or two and you're working with them and they put something on social media. They especially in America. Social Media is where you post your opinion. Be It right or wrong. That's where you could argue about things. Do you think players are going to be open to the idea of the next day? Their phone ringing in you being you on the phone saying hey what are you doing? What was that? You can't do that? Yeah well no I. I don't I don't I don't think it you know. I don't think that's how it works. I basically we when we looked Sino player poker or in this case full fare. You know you know. We talked to the guy. We make our due diligence in advance like the is. Is there anything wrong with this candidates? Is He done anything shady earlier? Okay if kind of shows up we we won't. We won't sign him. We won't fight to help him get a sponsor Because that will only backfire on us. Route commending this guy or girl to a sponsor and then later on they will show up some dirt on this on this person so i. We tried to see that tried to identify. If this this person is you know would be a good ambassador for any brand once about you. Know we we we we talk to the player and we try to basically ask. Are you willing to put in the hours necessarily necessary for us to actually get you a sponsor because when if you signed with us and we go out there and and the shoot was sponsor and he in and they find you interesting and they signed you and you give you money or equipment or whatever If you don't live up to your end of the deal we're going to cut you immediately. Because that kind of backfired on US reflects back on weed becomes recommend terrible ambassadors. Once in a while you might get unlucky and somebody you know promises the world and don't deliver afterwards but it's kind of like the core of our business and we have to be Hudson short at the ambassador's where recommending to any sponsor will deliver X Y Z. Because that's that's all from the sponsor and we're asking for their money and we have to deliver our end of the deal. Once they sign off on the deal we've talked about poker and pool and and the differences between poker players and cool players. But you have said in the interview that was posted online that you see a lot of similarities. Can you talk about what the similarities are that you see between the two right sure and I think that I'll touch on Some of the similarities already. But I I can see that you know. Poker was booming in the early two thousand and I am and I can see. I'm not saying that. The pool is booming. Now but I I can see the similarities. The both had or had great potential growth and The mainstream media was and they were not sure how much airtime they should vote to. This new phenomenal poker. Which was booming and Because it was it was rather messy as well lacking in professionalism and yeah it wasn't like viewed as a very professional sport if you if you can called Poker Sports And I'm not saying that they don't view pool as professional sports now but I mean there's there's something going on. There's something wrong. Because you know we have this project Billiard twenty twenty four law of prominence you know Q. Ist from Snoop Group wound different divisions. And they were trying to get through accepted or accept that as one of sports in the Olympic Games. The Committee. They actually went ahead and they accepted break-dancing I think skateboard In a couple of other sports which are you know in my view their way smaller than than pool. So we'RE WE'RE DOING. We're doing something wrong Which we need to address it and I think that you know we need to have make it interesting. We need to have a shot clock to have a vivid audience. We need to have Personalities we need to have the same kind of rules played over in the US as we're doing in Norway for example all of these things we need to you know put into order and have a system so when people outside look at sports. It shouldn't be confused right now. I'm watching you know ten bowl game in in the US and next week. I'm watching some ten game in the end you're in Europe and different rules. Why you know. And that's that's not good for the good for the sport So one of them I can see great potential for pool But we need to structure its and make it a bit more Professional and need a few more interesting characters and I also think that you know might not help the professionalism but I think that's Right now it's like poker. In the beginning. Every player was kind of failing under their own flag. It was each month for zone but eventually they started to make like seem thank thank so they basically what they did. Some of the best pool Sorry poker players. They got together discuss theories and kind of like simulated situation with the pair on the poker table. And I think that's right now also I kind of feel that. It's every man for his own In the pool world. But it's especially the ones who have the same sponsors. Maybe they shouldn't be more like it team. Having more like a team spirits trained together except people might win the competition like spend the day with the store team and meet up with. Pull the great pros responsibly. These kinds of things we can attract you know people into and kind of build a report with the the browns as well But I think that's right now one of the largest also is that is every man for himself and maybe we should take a look at that I want. I want to end the interview with asking you how players can get in touch with you but before I do. It doesn't strike me as just players that might benefit from getting in touch with you companies within the industry sponsors toward directors It sounds like anybody who's interested in building what they have to be larger and and making what they do and the game itself much more successful would benefit from contacting you. It's not just players and sponsors right no I mean. I think that's the experience that I've got from the poker industry. It can be utilized into Pu industry with great success. I mean there's there's no doubt in my mind and that's why I basically started the agency as well a little bit of on the backbone of the success story of the week player I mentioned but also I could clearly see a lot of similarities. Where the pool industry is it is at right now and we can be headed if you know if if we kind of moving the same direction and if you pick up a little bit of advice from the poker industry because they made a fantastic job of recruiting about ten fifteen thousand players playing a ten thousand dollar buying events you know. They're they've done something wrong. Not Sorry for and and so I think that's Our experience from that industry can the adopted into the Pool Industry. And Right now see. There's a project here with this League and there's another project there and then you go to the whole Mushroom they've got ownership of this and that tournament knock this one so I think that's the whole industry kind of works together. It will benefit sports and if we get the sport to grow better recruitment and I says that more professionalism. It would only benefit the sport as general and then the The producers and you know Like Predator Tom all of these. They would only benefits from the sports growing So I think that we need to put together and move in the same direction and Once we do that I think it's way easier trying to pitch the sports to mainstream media which is key everybody necessarily add everybody but I think that this sport belongs on mainstream media and once we do that it will be easier to track sponsors from outside the industry and an awesome. They've got people pockets so they can you know they can help build the price even higher and I would only help the professionalism again because people can actually make a living out of this and the ones who's not making a living but they have a dream of one day doing so. They can see that they actually possible to make a decent living but because right now it's like twenty people in the world with some who can actually make a comfortable living out of this fort that actually has millions of flare will wipe so there's some there's something there's something wrong here. I mean way more people should be able to make a living out of sport. Hey per welcome back. Sorry we had A. We had a connection problem there and I lost you before I had the chance to ask you about how people can contact you. So how can people contact you? And then we'll go from there so yeah. Obviously we've got. The website is Supercharged DOT COM and use felt super without the east as you are of course when faced because well. So if you're if you're a player who think you you got something to offer a sponsor look up if you're a builder browns and you'll looking into getting a better return on your investment in your current protein or pro team. You're thinking about starting you know look up and Yeah all right fantastic. I appreciate you taking the time today and I appreciate you answering back. And hopefully we'll be getting back in touch with you and talking about Further things very soon. Thanks for having me. Mike are never good day. All right that was per Haagen. It sounds like purrs. Got Some some great ideas you know you see so many people in the industry either want someone to hit a home run. You know well if we just had another color of money movie everything would be great. You know that's not gonNA happen anytime soon. Instead of purchase saying we need a color of money movie or we need some multi bazillionaire who loves pool just to throw money at it. It sounds like he actually has ideas as to how the industry could come together to make things better. I'd love to see the industry come together behind something like that. I'd to see the entry come together behind. Any plan doesn't have to be purse. I still fully believe that if the industry came together I mean everyone in the industry the media the cue makers the table maker's the players. The room owners the tournament directors. Everybody and said you know is what I can bring to the game and this is how I can help that. It would be a great thing for the industry and then you know I talk a lot about. Oh what was the industry everything terrible and it is looking up you know besides the cancellations and postponements right now. I do think things are looking up. It doesn't mean that we don't have to do anything to to make it move up to make it get better just that much faster but again. That's for another conversation. So I wanNA thank you for listening to American billiard radio and I will have another episode for you just as soon as I can.

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