Jai-Alai Chalk Talk Hall of Fame

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Re(1): It might be that time to face the music

Posted on August 17, 2010 at 10:06:34 PM by Jim

There is a way the sport can survive, but just like anything, it takes money to do it.

Orlando Jai Alai ran a big promotion last year, and the weekend crowds were twice what they were last year or more, even though the roster was rather weakened. However, the overall play was pretty good, given the circumstances. I say, offer one person something even more worthwhile, in addition to those promotions on weekend evenings. For example, you get your ticket drawn (one a night), and you get to blindly pull the 'magic' ball out of a set of 15 balls. If you do so on the first pull, you win the jackpot, which starts at $200.00 cash (not a betting voucher). If not, you get 4 more chances to pull the ball for a consolation of a $50.00 betting voucher. If the magic ball is not pulled on the 1st draw, the jackpot grows by $100.00 for the next draw. Orlando gave a car away on closing night...it attracted a large crowd until the final point of the night, and the car was given away then.

Problem is, in Florida, and just about everywhere, but moreso in Florida than any other state (except Nevada), jobs and having 'leisure' money are at an all time low for residents. Tourists DO NOT go to localities, other than the theme parks, shopping outlets and restaurants nearby the theme parks. They have the money, but don't venture into the city at all. Trying to attract tourists to jai alai is an official waste of time. Getting the locals to come BACK to the fronton, or get NEW fans in the key. It's possible, but it requires much more promotion than just a lackluster commercial running at 3am on ESPN.

In order for jai alai to return to the glory days...oh my gosh, the expense would be so dramatic, I don't think anyone could afford it, except for a wealthy person who has money to burn (like a celebritry sports figure), and a few years time to see if they could turn the game around. Orlando is the best market, I'd say, given the live crowds they get, and if you think the Citrus is well supported, imagine the crowd size if it were REALLLLLLLLLY promoted!!!

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