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Are you wondering, why?

In another post I'll share my background, motivation, and cuesports ability, (spoiler alert: I'm terrible at both). Today I'll just tell you what PackOfReds.com is and why it might just be a good thing. Hopefully you'll agree.


Firstly though, there's lots of negative talk circulating of how snooker is slowly dying in Ireland, (less so for pool), but you won't hear it from me. Frankly because I disagree that it is.


Yes it's true that venues & clubs have closed over recent years and national competitions have received less entries, but that doesn't mean cuesports have become less appealing to Irish people. If I'm wrong then please explain:


1) Why were there more Google searches in Ireland for 'snooker' in April 2023 than at any point since records began in 2004? (28% more than the next highest search month, April 2022!).

2) Why were the BBC TV ratings for the 2023 World Snooker Championships up by 12% year on year?

3) Why are sports channels such as Sky Sports & Eurosport prepared to broadcast more and more tournaments?

4) Why is snooker & pool participation growing in numerous other countries worldwide, (our world champion is from Belgium, who would have thought?!)?


5) Why have other sports such as cycling & running seen huge growth in participation in Ireland over the past 10-15 years?


Some potential answers


I've spoken with a lot of people within the Irish cuesports scene over the past 18 months to try to understand why participation levels have declined in Ireland. I received a lot of interesting answers and theories:

"There's no young people playing the game now, they all want to be on X-Box or Playstation instead."

or

"I don't know anyone in the local club. I used to go with my mate, but he stopped going so I stopped too."

or

"I used to play but I wasn't good. I'm not going back there to get embarrassed by someone who's been playing for years."

Games consoles & smartphones are undoubtedly a big part of the lives of the younger age groups now, but other sports are thriving despite this. In fact sports like cycing and running have embraced technology and participation has grown through it, e.g. smartphone apps such as Strava & Map My Run.


Cueports can learn from this, and that's why PackOfReds.com has been developed. It's an online platform that will provide 3 things:


1. A central source of cuesports information for those who want to get involved, including venue locations, competitions, sources of equipment, etc.

2. A simple platform for creating & managing competitions for:

a) Existing clubs & players

b) New clubs who wish to form and compete in competitions, e.g. Universities, Companies, etc.

c) Groups of friends, colleagues, other sports clubs, etc.

3. A way of tracking each player's performances over time and applying a handicap system that gives players of all standards attainable goals, e.g. "with a bit more practice I can improve my handicap by 10 points."


What now?


It's only the start of the journey for PackOfReds.com but the vision is to address all of those barriers to entry to cuesports highlighted in the feedback comments from our research. The younger generation of cuesports players can now use technology to engage more with cuesports, and a stronger community of regular cuesports players will be formed based on playing fair matches with everyone they meet.


That's why PackOfReds.com is now here, but your help will be needed to achieve that vision. More info to follow on how you can help, but for the moment please share this blog post and our social media channels so we can spread the word. Thanks all!

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Great work Steven, cue sports seem to have been too easily dismissed without proper research & look at the numbers. Wishing you success with packofreds.com & hopefully it will grow & help to increase participation amongst all ages & genders

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