We are reader supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Also, as an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
If you are a pool enthusiast, have lots of links with pool enthusiasts and want to make pool your full-time job, you can- by becoming an APA league operator! APA is the largest amateur pool association in the U.S and the world. It franchises its local businesses all over the world and the franchisees or local league owners are called league operators.
How much do APA league operators make? Being a league operator is a really profitable gig, and we mean really! Making a few assumptions, we can estimate that an APA league operator makes above $100,000 a year!
Unless you are a top-notch player, you could make more money as an APA league operator than actually playing pool in an APA league. If you’re in it more for the money than hardcore play, it is the perfect job. You still get to be in the midst of the pool community and right where the excitement happens!
What is the APA?
APA stands for the American Poolplayers Association, founded in 1979 by Terry Bell and Larry Hubbart, two professional pool players. It is the largest amateur pool league in the United States and also across the globe, with over 250,000 members and over 13,000 venues in North America only. Its franchises are spread worldwide in countries including the United States, Canada, China, and Japan.
Pool players of all skill levels can compete in APA pool leagues and one of the most attractive things about APA is its handicapped format and scoring system (what is called “The Equalizer”) that allows players with varying abilities and experience levels to compete with each other.
So even amateur players and beginners have a chance of competing on an equal footing (and winning!) against more experienced players.
APA hosts many tournaments throughout the year but the major two are the APA World Team Championships for teams and the APA Singles Championships for individual players. The former was recognized by the Guinness World Records in 2010 as The World’s Largest Pool Tournament.
The APA gives out $1.5 million annually at its two major tournaments combined: $1 million at the team championships, and $500,000 at the singles championship.
APA also holds the U.S. Amateur Championships for amateur players and the APA Junior Championships for children and teenagers.
What are league operators?
The APA franchises its local pool league businesses worldwide. Since 1999, it has been recognized every year by Entrepreneur magazine in its yearly Franchise 500 rankings. It is run locally by franchise operators called “league operators”.
These league operators are assigned a certain territory by the APA within which they conduct league operation. League play occurs every week and must abide by the franchisor’s (APA’s) system, the formats of play, handicapping, and scoring rules.
Who can become a league operator?
Anyone, even you, if you’ve got the skill and motivation. Although league operators are often former professional pool players, that is not a requirement.
All they ask for to see if you have what it takes is a very social, outgoing and motivated personality, financial stability (you have to pay an initial fee and some investments when you buy the franchise), some experience in sales or marketing, some computer skills, and good organizational and leading skills. If you have these, you’re a great fit for the job.
APA provides extensive training to league operators before starting and even after opening their pool business which is a must to take.
How much do league operators make?
A lot! APA makes $54 million annually from its members’ fees but gives only $1.5 million in prize money annually. Other than the small sum used for organization and operations, the travel funds and other small benefits the league provides, the rest must go into the salaries of the governing body and league operators!
One league contributes roughly $800 for one night of play, so if we sum that for 46 weeks per year, 46 * 800 gives us $36,800. $6300 is approximately the travel allowance per team to get them to the regional tournament. A prize of $1500 is allocated for the winner of the regional tournament. Subtracting these from the total, $29,000 is left for each league.
Now considering there are 5 leagues held every night, and that there are nearly 300 franchises/leagues worldwide (across U.S, Canada and Japan) $29,000 * 5 * 300 makes a total of almost $43.5 million. From this, $1.5 million is paid out each year at the two major tournaments as prize money, so we minus that and divide by 300, and get a profit of nearly $140,000 per league.
So a league operator could be making above $100,000 a year- up to $140,000 by these calculations!
Now the thing is, these are just estimates; it can be less, it can be more. It really depends on the value of the individual franchise and also how many divisions it has operating under it. Some league operators own more than one region.
There are other costs which we haven’t considered such as how much league operators pay any employees, the APA franchise fee, and sponsorship for local tournaments (and these local tournaments themselves have a joining fee so league operators get an income from here too).
Whatever the case, it’s no hidden fact that becoming a league operator is a very lucrative business indeed.
How much is an APA franchise?
The initial franchise fee based on the population of the region is usually $10,000 or above. Then there are other investments for some infrastructure, equipment, insurance, training fee. And from then on, a 20% weekly royalty is paid to the APA from the fee charged from each team.
How do you join the APA Pool Leagues?
If you are a pool player and wish to join the biggest pool league in the world, it’s actually quite easy. APA membership application forms are available online. You just fill the application and forward it to your local league operator. The annual membership fee is just $25 per player.