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Lone Wolf Pool Network: Nick Rodgers Interview ~ C. Fiorilla

Streaming Pool with the Lone Wolf Pool Network

The Lone Wolf Pool Network is an organization that runs leagues and tournaments in the North Carolina area. Recently they began live streaming pool matches and discovered it to be a big hit with the players. Sneaky Pete Mafia had the opportunity to talk with founder Nickolus Rodgers about the origins and growth of Lone Wolf and pool streaming.

SPM: Thank you for taking the time to talk to Sneaky Pete Mafia. Please can you tell us a little of the history of the Lone Wolf Pool Network? Nick: Sure. I was frustrated with playing in the APA pool league. I thought too much money was being taken from the players. League nights ran really late and you spend a lot of time waiting for the team to play. About four years ago my late friend Donna Sue came up with idea to start our own singles league. Players play one match per night so it doesn’t go too late. We started with 3 players and now we have had over 1000. We run tournaments every night of the week except Mondays. We also run a one pocket tournament every six months. One pocket is really big down here. SPM: Is Lone Wolf a corporation? Nick: Yes we are a company. Everything we do is transparent. Our annual statement is posted on our web page and anyone can look at it. SPM: Does the name ‘Lone Wolf’ have any special meaning? Nick: Yes. When we first had the idea to start the company Donna asked me what I thought would represent me. I told her my grandmother was a Blackfoot Indian and called me ‘Lone Wolf’ because I never played with other kids. SPM: Do you run all of your events yourself? Nick: No but I always show up at every event. I think it’s important to talk to the players and get their feedback. SPM: How many people do you have on staff? Nick: I have 5. Emily is the secretary and handles data and statistics and some scheduling. Elizabeth directs some of the tournaments and helps with the scheduling. Jason Davis is our cue specialist; he helps the players find appropriate pool products. Angie does fundraising and sells raffle tickets. Emmanuel Dean does all the photography, graphics, and advertising. SPM: People who know you know about your medical condition. Would you mind sharing this with the readers and how it affected you running the company? Nick: I have diabetes and have had several amputations as a result of complications. This year I had a leg amputated and was in the hospital from January until May. The whole time I was in the hospital I continued to run the company with the help of my staff. SPM: Wow that’s really impressive. Do you still play pool too? Nick: My skill level has dropped down by one but I still play. SPM: How did you get into streaming matches? It seems like it would require an investment in specialty equipment and a lot of technical knowledge. Nick: Actually it started as a joke. Two players were playing a match one night and we joked that we should stream it. We gave it a shot and the players loved it. It really took off from there. We don’t have any special equipment, just our phones. We use an iPhone7 and a Samsung 8. With 4K video we are able to stream to Facebook. Now we stream money, league, and tournament matches. SPM: Are the streamed matches commentated? Nick: Yes. I commentate the matches or I get another player to commentate. SPM: What was the first match you streamed where you felt you were making a significant impact to the players? Nick: One night we streamed an exhibition match of two guys who were preparing to play in Las Vegas. We gave some sponsorship money to the winner. We got over 2000 views. That’s pretty good for two local amateur players. SPM: What do you think the players get from the experience?

Nick: They love it. It’s a really big deal to them. It’s their time to shine. They get to brag to their friends. Now I have players asking me to stream their matches. SPM: Some amateur and pro players don’t want to have their matches streamed and some people don’t think that streaming matches is good for the sport of pool in general. What would you say to the people who have this opinion? Nick: I think all players should allow their matches to be streamed. Every sport has a little league except pool. I’m trying to clean up pool and help grow the sport. I don’t allow players swear or act unsportsmanlike. If players want to get sponsored they have to clean up their acts. They need to show some evidence to show potential sponsors that they play well and they can’t do that with back room gambling.  It’s a give and take relationship. No pro player should refuse to be streamed. When we were kids we got to see Efren Reyes and Grady Matthews play but there isn’t much pool on TV anymore. Kids today need to be able to see good players and see that they are good people. I’ve had Mike Davis on the stream and he was very professional and the players loved watching him. My 11 year old son has been an APA skill level 6 since he was 8 years old. He saw Skylar Woodward on a stream. He was really impressed and tried contacting him. Sky actually replied back and promised him he would give him an autograph the next time he is in the area. That was so important to my son. Sky’s whole family is part of his team since he was young and that’s how it should be. Bars don’t allow kids in and that’s where a lot of pool takes place. If we don’t stream it then the kids won’t have an opportunity to see it. How else is pool going to grow? SPM: What are your future plans for the Lone Wolf Pool Network? Nick: I’m looking to expand across the country. If anyone is interested in starting a branch of the Lone Wolf Network please contact me.

Nickolus Rodgers is the owner of the Lone Wolf Pool Network which operates in the Raleigh, NC area. He can be contacted on Facebook or at http://lonewolfpoolnetwork.com/3/contactus.htm.

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Sponsored by POV Pool and Jacoby Custom Cues

2016 POVPOOL LOGO

Author: Catherine Fiorilla

Photos provided by the author

Editor: Shaylyn Troop

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