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Thread: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

  1. #1
    Smells Like Teen Spirit jmcclain19's Avatar
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    ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    All I can say is, wow, has ESPN really gone south

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...&feed=rss.news

    Poker-winning ESPN has dominoes theory
    Sports network bets numbered tiles game due popularity boom

    Corey Kilgannon, New York Times

    New York -- The next big thing in sports programming is dominoes?

    To the occasional player, it is a stretch to even call this quiet game of straight-faced strategy a sport. But anyone who has spent time in a Latino neighborhood in New York City could testify that dominoes played there -- with the slammed-down tiles, the verbal sparring, the bragging and bluffing -- is no parlor game.

    From the opening bid, a simple sidewalk match will quickly escalate into a raucous, freewheeling spectacle: a mini-fiesta where salsa and cigars, Bacardi and brown-bagged beers have as much a role as the little colored tiles with dots.

    The games almost always draw spectators, so perhaps it is no surprise that the ESPN sports network has declared dominoes the next big spectator sport and is promoting it as both a cultural touchstone and a highly competitive game, complete with rankings, formal tournaments, celebrity events and sponsors.

    Encouraged by the success of televised poker, the network has begun combing New York City for top players and colorful clubs for its coverage and has been taping segments on formal tournaments and casual neighborhood games.

    Hourlong domino shows now run Tuesday nights on the network's Spanish-language sports channel ESPN Deportes. Hoping it will be popular with English-speaking viewers, the network plans to show similar programming on ESPN2 starting in June.

    "We think it will be the next cool thing," said Lino Garcia, general manager of ESPN Deportes. "We're connecting with the best places dominoes is played, so naturally we're going to start in uptown Manhattan and the Bronx, the places where it really happens."

    Garcia said he hopes to repeat the success the network has had with poker -- its World Series of Poker is its highest-rated regular series. Like poker, domino games offer plenty of suspense at the table, with clever decision-making and reading the strategies of other players all pivotal to winning. The network will also televise the world championships next year from the Dominican Republic.

    The plan, Garcia said, is not only to present dominoes in world-class tournaments and flashy celebrity events the way the network showcases poker, but to capture the excitement and charm of "the highly energetic games on street corners and small clubs in basements where guys go every day."

    New York's neighborhoods are filled with characters who come together to play. Older men in caps and young men in muscle T-shirts and gold chains go at it, slapping dominoes onto flimsy tables, speaking in Spanish in games lubricated by Presidente beer and salsa music.

    Luis Guzman, a well-known Puerto Rican actor, said in an interview that the domino table is an arena where the very dramas of life play out: love, hatred, revenge. Tempers can flare, and lifelong relationships can begin and end around a domino game.

    Guzman recalled that when he grew up on Manhattan's Lower East Side, it seemed that every male Latino played dominoes.

    "My pops would play for hours on end; all the men did," he said. "I know best friends who stopped talking to each other for years because of one game. After 10 years, one would still be saying, 'Man, why'd he play that one when he knew the other guy was holding the 6-3?' I know a guy who jumped out a second-story window and broke both legs after losing a domino game."

    At a dominoes club in the Bronx called Hijos y Amigos de Altamira, the players had varying opinions about how old-school domino players accustomed to casual, free-flowing action would react to being analyzed and scrutinized by ESPN, which plans to install a dozen table-level cameras, along with others overhead and around the club.

    "I think being on TV would make some of our players nervous," said Augusto Montan, 55, "but then again, I could name at least a few guys right now who would eat it up."

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    Re: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    That's funny, I saw this after I got home from playing dominoes. Technically we were playing "chicken leg." I've only just learned the game and I'm obsessed with it right now. Don't know that I'd watch other people playing dominoes though.
    "Announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh" -Al Swearengen, Deadwood

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    Also planned programming for ESPN in 2007:

    Uno
    Solitaire
    Pooh Sticks
    Sudoku
    Pik-up-Stix
    Tiddly Winks
    Operation
    and Bomberman
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    until they start carrying strip poker - all female players, of course - i refuse to tune in.

  6. #5
    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    Quote Originally Posted by MrCinatit
    until they start carrying strip poker - all female players, of course - i refuse to tune in.
    I think that is on ESPNU, which Time Warner doesn't carry...
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    I Still Miss Sean Casey
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    Re: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan
    Also planned programming for ESPN in 2007:

    Uno
    Solitaire
    Pooh Sticks
    Sudoku
    Pik-up-Stix
    Tiddly Winks
    Operation
    and Bomberman
    I would add marbles and jumping rope to that list.
    And what about chess? I know more great chess players than I do poker players.
    "And this one belongs to the Reds."

  8. #7
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan
    Also planned programming for ESPN in 2007:

    Uno
    Solitaire
    Pooh Sticks
    Sudoku
    Pik-up-Stix
    Tiddly Winks
    Operation
    and Bomberman
    Uno?

    YES

    I am a pro athlete
    Go Gators!

  9. #8
    I Still Miss Sean Casey
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    Re: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    How about ping-pong? That's one sport I definitely specialize in.
    "And this one belongs to the Reds."

  10. #9
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    Quote Originally Posted by KronoRed
    Uno?

    YES

    I am a pro athlete
    Our family has moved up a level to Uno Attack.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

  11. #10
    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    No new ESPN programming is complete with out the National Strat-a-Matic Baseball World Series and the Super Bowl of Paper Football.

    I miss study hall.
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.

  12. #11
    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    Quote Originally Posted by Heath
    No new ESPN programming is complete with out the National Strat-a-Matic Baseball World Series and the Super Bowl of Paper Football.
    How about the Super Bowl on the vibrating field? I had the '85 Super Bowl version of that. I think the board still vibrates, but most of the players are missing or were chewed up by the dog.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

  13. #12
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    They showed a Magic: The Gathering tournament on ESPN a few years ago. Riveting. Absolutely riveting.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

  14. #13
    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    If they want to capture the younger generation, they could always put on Beer Pong Tournaments, or maybe Speed Quarters.
    Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.

  15. #14
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    Mumbly peg.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

  16. #15
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN says next big "sports" phenomenon will be Dominos

    ESPN is looking for a green field sport that is cheap as all get out to stage and then market the bejesus out of it and make it a big deal.

    See the World Series of Poker.

    It's about
    the ball,
    the bat,
    the mitt,
    the bases,
    and the fans


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