U.S. Open 9-Ball leaves Chesapeake, moves to Virginia Beach
Chesapeake, VA, United States (4E Sports) – After 19 years of partnership, an international billiards tournament has parted ways with Chesapeake and decided to take its act to Virginia Beach
Barry Behrman, promoter of the weeklong U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships since the start, revealed that his relationship with city officials turned bitter after they billed him $26,000 for costs related to a 2011 tournament, the Masters 10-Ball.
“Because of all the wonderful things the city has done for us and we’ve done for them, we felt they should say, ‘Let’s give Barry a break,’ ” said Behrman, who never paid rent for using the conference center for the U.S. Open.
“They just said, ‘That’s too bad. You signed a contract, and we’re sticking to it,’”, added Behrman, who has organized the U.S. Open 9-Ball since 1976. The event features 256 of the world’s top pool players.
In 2011, Chesapeake earned about $150,563 based on 809 hotel room nights and food and retail sales. Ben White, the city’s assistant economic development director, estimated that the tournament made $994,944 for the city between 2007 and 2011.
But Behrman contradicted those numbers, saying the estimates are low and that calculations by Chesapeake hotel manager Ray Patel put the number of hotel room nights racked up for the 2011 event at about 2,400.
Behrman estimated the tournament has brought $8 million to $10 million in revenue to the city over the years.
“Now, Virginia Beach has the opportunity to make that money,” Behrman said.
In 2002, Berhman received a six-month sentence for operating a casino-like gambling operation out of his Chesapeake home and a year later pleaded guilty to violating probation for the second time.