Creating a professional sports league is work best kept in the backroom. Pro leagues start out like a Midway carnival barker, “Step right up, ladies and gents, see Lobster Boy in his tank!” As you may recall, the august National Football League was founded in a Canton, Ohio, Hupmobile showroom.
The road establishing a sports league is paved with wannabes. Baseball: Players League, Atlantic League, Federal League, Blue Ridge League, Continental League, United League, Western Baseball League. Football: All-American Football League, American Football League, Continental Football League, Indoor Football League, United States Football League, World Football League, XFL, and UFL. Hockey: World Hockey Association, International Hockey League, Pacific Coast Hockey Association.
The above is prelude to introducing you to the World Professional Billiard League. The WPBL was originally launched last year. Well, originally it was launched three years ago in Winnipeg, Republic of Canada, but that’s another story. In this story, the WPBL was supposed to start operating last fall. Regard their press release: “INAUGURAL WORLD PROFESSIONAL BILLIARD LEAGUE (WPBL) SEASON STARTS NOVEMBER 8, 2012: ...multi-city 132 match professional league...with teams in 12 cities across the USA and Canada, and 36 of the world’s top pool players...”
January 21, 2013, press release: “WPBL DUPED BY LAS VEGAS CONTRACTOR ...league has experienced several setbacks arising from construction delays and the acquisition of city permits.... Due to fraud and numerous illegal activities, the construction crew has now been fired.... Lies were told, fraud was committed, and tens of thousands of dollars were paid for permits that were not acquired.... We are confident that upon launch, the WPBL will exceed all expectations and will be a positive step forward for the billiards industry as a whole.”
March 29, 2013. “CONSTRUCTION RESUMES ON WPBL ARENA. After a three-month delay, construction resumed earlier this week at the WPBL Arena in Las Vegas, NV...”
The WPBL is made up of 12 teams, three players and one alternate per team. Teams represent Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, New York, Toronto, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston. Since all games are played in Las Vegas, one wonders if players have any connection with the cities they represent? Hey, why not field the Cayman Islands Offshore Bank Accounts as the league’s first expansion franchise?
WPBL says there will be 156 matches over the course of a 26-week season. The league says there will be $1,000,000 in prize money, although I don’t know where the million came from or where it is now. League says 36, 48, now 60 of the world’s top players are signed. The league has adopted Bonus Ball as their game. The object of Bonus Ball is to make shooting pool television-compatible. Teams, shot clock, points, manufactured excitement. All games will be played in the “...new 13,000 sq. ft. WPBL Arena in Las Vegas...”
Well, 13,000 square feet seems like a lot until you think of it as a rectangle 114 feet by 114 feet. The WPBL has posted pictures of their arena on its website. Nice-looking space, very purple and gray, plush seats for 100 people or so, but the arena is a television studio, plain and simple. Makes sense, play all league games in a television studio located in an office park one block south of McCarran International Airport.
“WPBL LAUNCHES MAY 30th. The World Professional Billiard League will launch the inaugural 2013 season Thursday, May 30th, at 7 p.m. PT.... Each of the 156 matches will be broadcast live at WPBLtv.com in HD. The first match of each week, broadcast every Thursday at 7 p.m. PT, will be aired FREE.”
You, dear reader, can be a part of the action. For only $9.95 per week, or $169.95 for the entire regular season, you can enjoy LIVE PPV matches in your habitat.
“WPBL DEBUT MATCH, May 31, 2013. Technical difficulties interrupted the live stream when the server became overloaded with fans trying to view the match. All issues have been rectified and tonight’s match will be broadcast as scheduled at 6 p.m. PT. As a show of gratitude to our fans for their support, we are offering the remainder of this weekend’s matches for free.”
“WPBL STOPS FIRST WEEK-END LIVESTREAM, June 1, 2013. The World Professional Billiard League’s live on-site production has been a success. However, our live stream has been met with various difficulties beyond our control. As a result, the WPBL staff has concluded not to air additional matches this weekend.”
Found on the “Contact Us” WPBL web page: “Our phone line is currently not in service, but will be later this week.”