Blog entry from 2023-11-07
After 12 years and 403 tournaments, the time had come on 16th October 2023: With the conclusion of the Three Cushion Summer Cup 2023, the total sum of all prize money awarded at MWS tournaments broke the 60,000 euro mark. Since the start of MWS tournament operations on 8th August 2011, we have been contributing to more distributional justice in billiards between professionals, amateurs and locations. Top-class sport and popular sport go hand in hand with us. Find out why this is so important for everyone and how we do it here.
Good prospects for all MWS tournament players: Timeline trend shows increasing density of tournaments with higher prize money
The tournaments in the first few years of the market launch of our MWS system for remote billiards with laser technology were often promotional events and financing the prize money required a lot of personal effort. During this time, our later cult format Weekly High Run was created, which is about achieving three cushion high runs. To date, the WHR tournament series has seen 21 editions and 186 competitions, in which a total of € 24,769 in prize money was awarded.
The jump from 20K to 30K took up a third of MWS sports history so far, and not much has happened in terms of prize money. However, there was a lot of playing. The Rapido series was the defining format back then - a tournament series that you can imagine like a club evening. Every week they met at their location and played an evening blitz tournament, with no entry fee or prize money, just for the fun of it.
Then the reins were tightened again, the cry for prize money became louder - and suddenly the coronavirus was there. The world stood still, but with MWS, tournaments were still allowed to be played during the pandemic, online and alone at the table, of course. With the current Home Tour Infinity series, a new tournament format was created that significantly increased the prize money amount. Unlike in the market launch phase, this time the prize money was already co-financed through higher entry fee income as well as advertising and sponsors.
The cumulative development of the prize money on the timeline:
- 08.08.2011: Start of MWS sports operations with the 1st tournament of the Weekly High Run series
- 15.03.2013: 10K mark is reached with € 10,220 after 88 competitions resp. 1 year and 7 months
- 19.12.2014: 20K mark is reached with € 20,570 after 84 more competitions resp. 1 more year and 9 months
- 30.06.2019: 30K mark is reached with € 30,061 after 135 more competitions resp. 4 more years and 6 months
- 27.03.2021: 40K mark is reached with € 40,035 after 40 more competitions resp. 1 more year and 8 months
- 16.01.2022: 50K mark is reached with € 50,073 after 29 more competitions resp. 9 more months
- 16.10.2023: 60K mark is reached with € 60,585 after 27 more competitions resp. 1 more year and 9 months
The Home Tour Infinity Series currently stands at a total prize money sum of € 24,400 and 56 completed tournaments. This year, the Home Tour will replace the WHR Series as the highest-paying MWS tournament series, with two new Home Tour tournaments currently underway. Almost a third of all MWS tournaments to date (120 out of 403) have been organized without prize money, most of them a long time ago. Recently, tournaments without prize money have almost disappeared. The trend is clearly in favour of prize money tournaments.
The timeline also shows that new 10K marks are being reached after fewer and fewer tournaments. This means that the individual tournaments are, on average, increasingly endowed with higher prize money (also because tournaments without prize money have almost disappeared). The inclusion of the five pins discipline in the MWS sports calendar has also brought a further push in the development of tournaments and prize money. The first edition of the International Cinque Birilli Team League, a league competition for five pins club teams, is currently underway and is endowed with a whopping € 1,800. If things continue at this rate, the next 10K will soon be reached.
Three-class society in the all-time ranking, high percentage of tournament participants make it into the prize money ranks
It takes two things to accumulate a lot of prize money. Firstly, sporting clout. And secondly, a correspondingly high number of participations in prize money tournaments. Anyone who can combine both has what it takes to be a top earner. And his name is Andreas Efler. With around € 11,000, the Home Tour record champion is clearly ahead of Martin Horn with around € 6,500. Then there is another big gap before a flurry of players starts from around € 2,500 downwards. Right in the middle of this turmoil are the top players Luca Marzio Garavaglia, Georg Schmied and Ernst-Jan Driessen, who are present in the current MWS tournaments.
At first glance, that doesn't sound like a lot of prize money that top players can earn with us. But if you consider that there are no travel and accommodation costs in our tournaments because all participants play at their home location or at home using our system for remote billiards and the participants also save a lot of time, then the bottom line is that a lot of the prize money won remains left over. Every billiards insider can draw comparisons with tournaments and leagues of the major associations.
The percentage of tournament participants who make it into the prize money ranks is desirably high. In the last 27 tournaments alone (from reaching the 50K mark to reaching the 60K mark), 30 out of 42 players have managed to reach the prize money ranks at least once in these almost two years. This corresponds to a success rate of over 70%. Among these 30 players, apart from the top positions, there are mostly amateur players.
Freest possible entry criteria and prize money keys that are attractive to professionals, amateurs and locations
Prize money is a means of promoting sport. After all, all players have expenses to cover in order to be able to pursue their profession or hobby. Apart from sponsored professional players, top players often have higher expenses than hobby players. Firstly, this is due to the greater amount of time that has to be spent in order to be able to achieve top performance in the first place. This is time that may be missing for traditional gainful jobs. Secondly, top players have more opportunities to take part in the major tournaments of the major associations through ranking and quota systems. Participation in such tournaments is undoubtedly good and important for their sporting development, but it is also often associated with considerable travel costs etc. Money that has to be brought in again first.
But amateur players also have expenses that need to be covered in some way so that they can pursue their hobby. And organizing locations do too, as they provide the necessary infrastructure, which also involves financial expenditure. Top players therefore generally have higher expenses than amateur players, and without locations there would be no tournaments at all. We are therefore looking for a prize money formula that takes account of the average expenditure of professionals, amateurs and locations. This is what we mean by fair distribution.
This means that top players should receive significantly more prize money on average than amateur players. For locations, we have decided that they should earn a low percentage of the prize money from their successful athletes. The more tournaments they organize and the more participants they bring to the start, the more opportunities they have to share in their players' prize money. The development of an accurate prize money formula is then subject to ongoing adjustment in line with the budget, the number of participants, the ratio of player groups (top players, amateur players) and the preservation of the competitive nature of the sport - after all, tournament sport is competitive sport and not a watering can.
With a few exceptions (invitational tournaments), access to our international prize money tournaments is open to all MWS users and not just reserved for professionals. In order to reach as many players and locations as possible with our concept of distributive justice, we rely on access criteria for our tournaments that are as free as possible and thus ensure more equal opportunities.
Because one thing is clear: At the end of the day, everyone - professionals, amateurs and locations - is in the same boat
The sport is only doing well when all the supporting pillars are doing well. That's why everyone needs a piece of the cake. The mainstay is what is often referred to as the base and is by far the largest group of players, the hobby players. They are the largest and therefore most important market of specialist consumers for locations, media, sponsors, manufacturers and a wide range of other economic operators. Without a market and therefore without demand, sources of money and offers tend to dry up.
The sporting spearhead is formed by the top players, who thus ensure higher monetization and marketing potential in the event age. Without these modern gladiators, our sport would have little chance of being noticed by non-specialist audiences because any sport other than elite sport is difficult for media companies to market and is therefore a rather unattractive partner. No media would mean no sponsors, because no advertising time, etc.
Recruiting new players and training young talent requires public awareness and clubs that take care of the new players. To do this, we need top-class sport to generate marketing potential and popular sport, which with its basis forms the social foundation for the practice and maintenance of sport.
And without locations? Well, then ... it wouldn't be possible to play at all.
Lots of examples, long story short: Our sport needs all the supporting pillars and all the supporting pillars need each other in order to remain competitive both sportily and economically.
With our concept of fair distribution and our prize money policy, we make a sustainable positive contribution to the socio-economic and sporting development of billiards.