AZB Coverage of NBL Launch

Thank you to for the great coverage leading up to launch!


As originally planned, this month should have featured the nationwide launch of the National Billiard League (NBL), brainchild of Ed Liddawi, owner of Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ. The league itself will launch, but thanks to the pandemic, with nowhere near the number of facilities originally planned for the league’s first qualifying events; 32 were planned, to host the first of eight qualifying events, to be held on various dates in Jan./Feb, April/May, July/August and Oct./Nov. Four main events, with $200,000 prize packages, featuring competitors from the qualifying events were to be conducted in March, June, September and December.

As of today (Friday, Jan. 8), the NBL will hold already designated, 32-entrant qualifiers in five locations, stretching from coast to coast; at Racks Billiards in Fresno, CA, Big Tyme Billiards in Spring, TX, Capone’s Billiards in Spring Hill, FL, Wolf’s Den in Roanoke, VA . . .

“. . . and the Big Show,” said Liddawi, “here at Sandcastle Billiards. This will be a miniature example of what the (four) main events will be.”

“The main events are going to be shows,” he added, “featuring live, musical performances.”

As might be expected, the NBL did not launch all 32 of its originally planned events, even though 32 rooms had been selected and were preparing to hold the qualifiers. Our monthly on-line magazine, THE BUZZ, featured a story about the plans being made to launch this league, in May, when, Liddawi recalls, the thought was that the pandemic might last through the year, but would likely be over by the January, 2021 launch of the qualifiers.

Not so, of course.

“Several of the businesses shut down,” said Liddawi, “some of them for good. Some changed ownership and though the new owners were interested, by the time they decided, we’d already replaced them.”

“The NBL still has to regroup, re-sanction and re-verify several locations,” he added. “Tournament directors, too, because some of them lost their businesses and jobs and are now unable to direct the events.”

It is not as simple as changing a date, or location because each of the venues has to agree to conduct the events, according to guidelines set by Liddawi. It was these guidelines that formed the foundation of Liddawi’s vision that a nationally-organized and operated league, the NBL, has been what the industry has needed for decades.

“Standardization, organization and professionalism,” he commented back in April.

These events – a combination of 8-ball and 10-ball, , whenever they are finally held, will be held using the same size tables and the same rules, “which will embrace professionalism at all levels.”

This weekend’s event will be streamed live and available through the league Web site at

“Just go to the site and click on “Watch Now,” said Liddawi.

Future plans regarding the remaining 27 qualifying events and the four planned main events at various locations await information about how the designated localities will be dealing with the circumstances of the pandemic and the extent to which the municipalities in which these events are scheduled allow them to be held.

At Sandcastle Billiards on Sunday (Jan. 10), the doors will open for the “Big Show” at 10 a.m. with the amateur qualifying event and its 32 participants expected to be underway by noon. It will last, said Liddawi, until it’s over.

Skip Maloney – AzB Staff January 8, 2021

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