Jai-Alai Chalk Talk Hall of Fame

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Re(5): If it was your job...

Posted on July 10, 2012 at 09:19:57 PM by CTguy

First of all, you would have to start with things that SHOULD be automatic, but aren't anymore: Clean, well-lit buildings, new shirts with numbers on them, not falling off, announcers who pay attention, etc. Then ...

I've always thought one of the biggest mistakes jai alai made came around 1979 or so. ESPN started, they had no big pro broadcast rights, and would put ANYTHING on the air — Australian rule football, ping pong, etc. With three frontons in Connecticut, they frontons should have tried to cut some deal with ESPN — we won't charge any rights fees if you put us on the air.

Now ESPN is too big, but I would try to do a deal with the NBC Sports Channel (formerly Vs.), which needs programming. Give them free programming if they do it right, with the production caliber than the Basque TV did for the Citrus.

Other things I would do:

I believe kids can get into Dania, but not Miami, right? I don't know about Orlando. I think the first death blow to jai alai in Connecticut came when minors were barred (it meant I didn't go for three years until I got old enough to pass for 18). I would try to make sure kids would attend, at least weekend/holiday matinees. Then give them fun things to do when they're there, like walk out in the post parade with the players.

Not only make sure there is a place for amateurs to play, but ran the place and promote it. And at the end of the year, have the best teams from the amateur program play a special, non-betting game in the middle of an actual performance. If you have 16 amateurs chosen, figure they bring the spouses/girlfriends, parents and friends. A bunch of potential future customers there.

College nights, like Ocala did successfully, back when Ocala tried. Even if they only come to drink cheap beer, SOME of the kids will take to jai alai. You could make the final game each college night be the same teams representing various school, culminating in a partido when the two teams wear jerseys in their school colors.

I remember a few years ago, Dania tried fantasy jai alai. Did that have cash prizes? If not, I would try it and award money each month. That would get people checking the web site every day.


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