Snooker Shoot-Out Blackpool Bound
Bank of Communication Sponsor Shanghai Event
PTCs Offer New Route For Tour Qualifying
Snooker Heading Down Under
Street Snooker - What's It All About?
Snooker's biggest domestic tournaments will be shown on the BBC for at least another three years thanks to a new agreement with World Snooker.
The deal sees the BBC continue as host broadcaster of the World Championship, the UK Championship, the Masters and the Welsh Open until the end of the 2013/14 season.
The World and UK Championships and the Masters will be given network coverage, while the Welsh Open will again be screened on BBC Wales.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: "We are absolutely thrilled to extend our partnership with the BBC for a further three years. It's a great day for our sport; for the administration, the players, and most of all the fans, who are guaranteed many hours of uninterrupted coverage of snooker on a free terrestrial channel. Last year, 18.7 million people watched at least 15 minutes of the World Championship, which proves that there is a great appetite for the sport in the UK.
"The World Championship, which has been extensively covered by the BBC every year since 1978, as well as the Masters, the UK Championship and the Welsh Open have become part of the sporting fabric of the nation. These events are among the jewels in the crown of the sporting calendar and it is fantastic that they are to remain on the BBC.
"Snooker has come a long way over the past year with new tournaments, new sponsors and new broadcast deals. This agreement with the BBC strengthens our foundations and allows us to keep pushing forward with the sport's new era."
Current World Champion Neil Robertson said: "It's exciting news for the players. The BBC has played such an integral part in the growth of snooker over the past few decades and it's great to know we'll still be shown on terrestrial TV and watched by millions of fans for at least another three years."
Legend Stephen Hendry added: "Ever since I've played snooker, the BBC has been the main broadcaster for our sport. The biggest tournaments belong on the BBC so it's excellent news that we've extended the deal."
BBC Director of Sport Barbara Slater said: "We're delighted to have renewed our partnership with World Snooker. The BBC has a proud history of coverage of top class snooker and we're looking forward to continuing to bring the highest quality coverage to our audiences."
BBC Wales Head of Sport Geoff Williams said: "BBC Cymru Wales is delighted to continue our coverage of the Welsh Open. Wales has always been recognised as a hotbed of snooker, with players like Ray Reardon, Terry Griffiths and Mark Williams being World Champions in the past, and we look forward to welcoming the world's top players to the Welsh Open in future years."
Ladbrokes Mobile To Sponsor Masters
In December, leading bookmaker Ladbrokes announced that they have become the title sponsors of the Ladbrokes Mobile Masters taking place at Wembley Arena in the New Year.
Snooker's longest running and most prestigious invitational event will now receive the six-figure backing of Ladbrokes as they look forward to their first sponsorship of a world-class snooker tournament.
Now entering its 37th year, the Masters has provided the British public with many of snooker's most thrilling moments and its roll call of champions reads like a who's who of the greatest names in the sport.
Fresh from the Alexandra Palace where the largest betting company in the UK continue to support the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship, the firm will be crossing North London to Wembley to begin their sponsorship of the famous snooker tournament.
Running from the 9th to 16th January, the Masters features the top 16 players in the world, competing for a £500,000 prize fund.
Commented World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn; "We are delighted to continue our long and successful partnership with Ladbrokes with this sponsorship of the Masters.
"With eight days of solid live and highlight coverage on the BBC as well as blanket live coverage in over 50 European countries via Eurosport, the Ladbrokes Mobile Masters is one of the most eagerly anticipated tournaments of the year.
"Over the years, I have worked with Ladbrokes on a range of sports and to now have them involved with the Masters, speaks volumes for where snooker is going."
Gary McIlraith, Managing Director of Ladbrokes.com said: "We're thrilled to extend our sponsorship activities with Barry Hearn and World Snooker.
"We are very excited by the re-launch of World Snooker and feel it provides us with a great opportunity to promote our mobile applications which are showing tremendous growth and continue to be a key sales channel for the future.
"It's also fantastic to be associated with a tournament which will help us reach a wide audience via BBC broadcast."
12BET.com To Sponsor Snooker's UK Championship
Snooker's second biggest ranking tournament and one of the most keenly anticipated events on the sporting calendar, the 12BET.com UK Championship runs from December 4 to 12 at the International Centre in Telford.
Leading online betting firm 12BET.com enjoyed a first taste of snooker at September's 12BET.com World Open in Glasgow, a thrilling event which saw Neil Robertson beat Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final. They have now added this year's UK Championship to their sponsorship portfolio.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: "The fact that 12BET.com has invested in the next major event shows that they were delighted with the exposure they gained for their brand at the World Open. It is a testament to what snooker can deliver in terms of exceptional reach of the television and media coverage.
"The UK Championship will be broadcast to hundreds of millions of fans on BBC, Eurosport, CCTV in China and across the globe, so it's obvious why our product is attractive to sponsors. We're thrilled to welcome 12BET.com on board for the UK and we look forward to continuing to build a close relationship with their team."
Rory Anderson, Chief Executive for Europe at 12BET.com, added: "We are looking forward to the event and the global exposure it will generate for the 12BET.com brand."
The UK Championship is one of snooker's most historic and celebrated events, a regular fixture on the calendar since 1977 with most of the sport's greatest names inscribed on the trophy.
Competing for the £625,000 prize fund this year will be the likes of Rocket Ronnie O'Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, 12BET.com World Open champion Neil Robertson and defending champion Ding Junhui.
Tickets for the event are on sale now - for details call 01952 561700.
Samba Snooker! New Tournament In Brazil
World Snooker will be taking the sport to a brand new territory next year with the Brazilian Masters.
The tournament, announced at a press conference in London today, will run from September 14 to 17, 2011, at the Transamerica Expo Centre in São Paulo, Brazil.
It will be an invitation event featuring 12 of the top players in the world rankings plus four wild cards, with prize money of at least $200,000.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: "This is a fantastic announcement for snooker as it will be the first ever professional tournament staged in Brazil. It will be an invitation event in year one but depending on its success we do have plans to make it a full world ranking tournament.
"Brazil is a country with a great love of sport and an incredible sporting heritage. Snooker is very popular there and we want to tap into that support. Breaking into South America is a huge step towards our ambition of making snooker a truly global sport. These are exciting times for us, with this the latest in a series of new tournaments.
"We look forward to working with the promoter in Brazil and building foundations there."
Pablo Magalhães, Marketing Director of Publikimagem Projects and Marketing, the promoter of the event, said: "We believe that hosting an official event of World Snooker in Brazil will be the beginning of a new era of professional snooker in our country. We are very optimistic about the success of this first international tournament of professional snooker in South America. "
Marcílio Cavalcanti, Chairman of Snooker Brazil Association, added: "The realisation of the Brazil Masters in 2011 is being awaited with great anxiety for more than 20,000 players from Brazil, mainly because we will conduct national qualifying to categorise the two best players for the Brazil Masters. This event will change the concept of professional snooker in our country and in a few years we believe that we will have more Brazilian players in snooker's world rankings."
Brazil's top player Igor Figueiredo, who reached the final of the World Amateur Championship last year and is now playing his first season on the professional tour, said: "It's very exciting news that there will be a tournament in Brazil. Snooker is already popular in my homeland but there is potential for it to be much bigger. This event will bring snooker to the Brazilian fans and I know they will respond by welcoming the top players and creating a great atmosphere. Hopefully I can be successful on the main tour and provide an example for more Brazilian players to follow me."
The event will be straight knock-out, on one match table. The first two rounds will be best of seven frames, with the semis and final best of nine.
Pictured (left to right at today's launch): Mark Selby, Marcílio Cavalcanti, Barry Hearn, Pablo Magalhães and Shaun Murphy
Lord Stevens To Oversee Snooker's Integrity Unit
Lord Stevens, World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn and WPBSA Disciplinary Committee head David Douglas joined foces to launch snooker's new Integrity Unit.
The three key strands of the Integrity Unit - Intelligence, Prevention and Investigation - are designed to eliminate all forms of corruption from snooker.
Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord John Stevens, Chairman of Quest, is one of the world's leading experts on tackling corruption in sport. In recent years, Quest have led a number of inquiries in world sport including work with the FA Premier League, the FEI and the FIA.
He said: "Integrity is non-negotiable. Sport will only move forward if we show to the world that we are fully committed to clean and fair sport at all levels. Independent Integrity Units are a best practice model which have already been implemented by other international sports.
"Integrity is about fair play right across sport, not just about competitors and officials. It as much about protecting the innocent as it is about trying to prevent and identify irregular practices. All of us involved in sport have a duty to ensure that our sports are clean. Otherwise, the sports we love are under threat."
Hearn said: "Setting up the Integrity Unit is a process we started several months ago - before the John Higgins case came about - by bringing David Douglas on to the board. Snooker is a sport associated with honesty and sportsmanship, we've all seen countless occasions where players have owned up to fouls not spotted by the referee.
"Unfortunately in recent months we've had some high profile cases which have tarnished the image of the game, and it's vital for the future of snooker that we stamp out corruption and make sure we are clean, and perceived as clean by the viewing public. We have made massive strides forward commercially this year with new and successful events with exciting formats. But that progress must not be hindered by any form of corruption.
"We must stop the problems at the root and provide a massive deterrent, therefore it is our intention to give life bans to players found in breach of the most serious rules."
Douglas, a former Detective Chief Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police, added: "The WPBSA is the regulator for snooker and as such has as a key role in the protection of the sport's integrity. In order for the sport to maintain and grow interest it has to be, and seen to be, clean and fair."
He also outlined the three strands of the Integrity Unit:
The WPBSA should be able to receive information through many channels to be held and analysed centrally. Certain types of intelligence may be highly sensitive and the WPBSA must have a robust system to protect confidential sources. A full information security plan must be in place to ensure that any data received by the WPBSA is stored securely.
- Education and publicity
- Ongoing analysis of intelligence and strategic assessments to continue to identify best practice and methods of prevention for the WPBSA.
The WPBSA will provide an investigative capacity in order that intelligence can be acted upon efficiently, proportionately and appropriately to focus on proving or disproving any information or allegation indicating malpractice.
12bet.com Takes On The World Through Sponsorship Of Snooker's World Open
World Snooker is delighted to announce online betting firm 12bet.com as the new title sponsor of the World Open.
The one-year deal will see the tournament, which runs from September 18 to 26 at the SECC in Glasgow, named the 12bet.com World Open.
The world ranking event will feature star players including Ronnie O'Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Jimmy White, Mark Selby and World Champion Neil Robertson. It carries a total prize fund of £502,500 with the winner to receive £100,000.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: "This is a fantastic piece of news for our sport at just the right time. We've made giant strides forward in the commercial success of snooker in recent months and this keeps the momentum going. The new World Open, with a new format, new venue, and new arena, is one of the cornerstones of the new era so we're thrilled to have a title sponsor on board.
"With over 50 hours coverage on BBC and a combined global audience reaching over 100 million, the tournament will give vast exposure to 12bet.com's brand so it's easy to see their motivation behind getting involved with snooker. We hope they enjoy what should be a great tournament and look forward to building a strong relationship with them."
Rory Anderson, CEO for Europe at 12bet, said: "We are delighted to add the World Open to our fast growing sponsorship portfolio. This event will give our brand fantastic exposure not only in the UK but throughout Europe. We are glad to be on board and are excited about the new best of five format."
Masters champion Selby added: "It's always exciting to have a new sponsor and it seems a long time now since we had a ranking event without one. I am sure the World Open will be a great tournament. All the players are looking forward to it, myself included. We'll all be trying to win it and play our best snooker."
The nine-day tournament will feature quick-fire best-of-five frame matches and a random draw for each round.
Tickets are still on sale, for details call 0844 395 4000 or visit www.worldsnooker.com/tickets
The 12bet.com World Open receives equal funding and support from EventScotland and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau.
Sky To Televise World Seniors Championship
Sky Sports will screen seven one-hour highlights programmes from the new World Seniors Championship over the Christmas period.
This follows the recent announcement that Sky will televise the World Snooker Shoot-Out in January.
The World Seniors Championship is one of several new events added to the calendar this year, with World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn leading a new era for the sport.
The tournament runs from November 5 to 7 at the Cedar Court Hotel in Bradford, with legends such as Steve Davis, Dennis Taylor, Cliff Thorburn, Joe Johnson, John Parrott and Jimmy White aiming to provide a celebration of snooker for fans.
Hearn said: "We're delighted to have brought Sky back into the fold as they haven't screened a World Snooker event since 2004. This announcement about the World Seniors follows hot on the heels of their decision to televise the Shoot-Out and shows that we've been able to rekindle Sky's enthusiasm for snooker.
"The Seniors event should be fantastic viewing for fans of all ages so it's great news that Sky will be bringing it to a wider audience."
Tickets for the World Seniors Championship are on sale - for details see www.worldsnooker.com/tickets
Further details of Sky's transmission schedule for the event will be released when available.
Hearn Proposal Accepted By Snooker Players
Barry Hearn, Chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, saw his blueprint for snooker's future accepted by the sport's voting members at an Extraordinary General Meeting in Sheffield on June 2.
The players voted 35-29 in favour of Hearn's plan, which includes a variety of new tournaments for the coming season, including a quick-fire Shoot-Out event, a ranking event in Germany, a World Seniors Championship and a Player Tour Championship series.
"I'm delighted by the outcome," said Hearn. "I do not under-estimate the challenges that lie ahead, but for the moment snooker is united and the future looks rosy.
"I owe the game a lot and I will make sure that I will be giving 100 per cent every day to bring it to the level at which it should be operating."
Player Tour Championship Helps Form Snooker's 'Brave New World'
A brand new snooker series, the World Snooker Player Tour Championship, is set to start next month and will form an integral part of the sport's era of innovation.
The series will feature 12 three-day events (PTCs), the first of which takes place at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield from June 25 to 27. A new Order of Merit, distinct from the World Rankings, will be incorporated into the series based on money earned at each event. Upon conclusion of the 12 PTCs, the top 24 on the final Order of Merit will go through to the televised stages in March.
Each of the 12 events will carry prize money of £50,000, and at the televised stage there will be £200,000 up for grabs - giving total prize money of £800,000. World Ranking points will also be available throughout for Main Tour players.
Six of the PTCs will be held at the Academy, with the other six in continental Europe, including at least four in Germany, where the popularity of snooker is booming. The maximum field for each event will be 128 competitors; this will allow for a minimum of 32 places for amateurs to compete against the 96 professional players. An amateur pre-qualifier will
be held should the event be over-subscribed.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: "The Player Tour Championship forms the backbone of our brave new world for snooker. It plugs the gaps between the main ranking events, providing plenty of opportunities for the professionals, which is what they have been crying out for.
"I'm particularly excited about the new Order of Merit! This will create extra interest among fans and media as players battle to get one of those 24 spots in the final stages. It will be like the race to get into the Ryder Cup team in golf, with players sweating over every pound. It gives talented
young players the chance to come from nowhere and surge up the list, while the top boys will have to be on their mettle.
"I hope that all of the leading stars will enter these events, and with a lot of money and ranking points available, there is every incentive. They will have to play in at least six of the PTCs to be eligible for the televised finals. I've used a similar model in darts and it's worked fantastically well.
"I'll also be fascinated to see how the events go in Europe. The new series provides World Snooker with a strong structure through which to enter new international markets."
Each event will cost £100 to enter. Details on how to enter will follow soon on worldsnooker.com
Sky To Televise World Snooker Shoot-Out
Sky Sports will televise a World Snooker event for the first time in over six years in the coming season, having signed up for the thrilling new World Snooker Shoot Out.
The tournament will combine exhilarating action with top-draw snooker, with the best 64 players on the planet taking part in a one-frame shoot out with a random draw. There will be a 20 second shot clock, with no time-outs and frames to take a maximum of 12 minutes. The event will run from January 28 to 30, 2011, and will be screened live on Sky - the first World Snooker event to be televised by Sky since 2004.
"It will be snooker at full throttle, testing the players to the limits of what they can do under pressure," said World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn.
"They will have to make quick decisions and show their natural ability and plenty of bottle - with the chance to double their money for every game they win. The champion will walk off with £32,000, which is not bad for a long weekend. There will be a very lively atmosphere so it might not be one for the purists, but we want to appeal to new and younger audiences and this is the perfect format to trial.
"I'm delighted to bring Sky on board for this one because I have every confidence that under producer Rory Hopkins' production team, the coverage will be both original and innovative. The format fits perfectly for Sky, with non-stop breathtaking action which will keep viewers and the live audience on the edge of their seats. I'm in discussion with several sponsors and I fully believe that this event will be a massive success.
"This is among the most exciting ideas I've had since coming back into snooker and I can't wait to see it realised. It's one of a variety of new events on the calendar which will help to generate a new and wonderful era for snooker."
The tournament is set to feature star names such as Rocket Ronnie O'Sullivan - who is sure to be favourite with his rapid attacking style - Stephen Hendry, Mark Selby, Ding Junhui and Betfred.com World Champion Neil Robertson.
Further details, including the venue and how to buy tickets for this sensational snooker show, will be released shortly.
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