Tiger's Jai-Alai Chalk Talk
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Re(1): Where are the crowds?

Crowds will never return in any substantial way.

Jai Alai in the USA required consistently maintaining substantial betting pools. That meant , on any given night, in its hey dey with 2k there on a Wednesday night, 4-6k Saturday, the game needed 80% of the audience to be casual, quite infrequent fans. Different ones who come 5 times a year or so. This meant, if by nothing other than random luck, a small subset would make money, a small group almost break even, but most important it being vibrant with a massive audience created an environment they wanted to revisit.

The beginning of the end was the 1988 strike. Players treated fans like trash. Fans were what wrote their paychecks. Crowds dipped sharply, and the casual fan recognized casinos never slashed their tires.

I like jai alai, but the people in the sport harmed their game far more than casinos alone ever could. There is no putting the genie back in the bottle.


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