Mark Selby was snooker’s highest earner during the 2015/16 season, winning £510,909 in prize money.
On a list which takes into account money earned in every sanctioned tournament (not just ranking events) as well as high break prizes and 147 bonuses, world number one Selby was the only player to top the half million mark. His £330,000 prize for winning the World Championship in May accounted for a large proportion of Selby’s earnings.
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Neil Robertson was second on the list with £413,383. The Australian banked £294,000 during a purple patch before Christmas when he won the Champion of Champions and UK Championship as well as making a 147 in the UK final.
John Higgins, winner of the International Championship and Australian Goldfields Open, was third with £331,287 while Masters and Welsh Open champion Ronnie O’Sullivan was next with £302,100.
There were 24 players who earned more than £100,000 during the season, while 44 players banked at least £50,000.
Over the last two seasons, six players have earned more than £700,000: Mark Selby (£782,075), Ronnie O’Sullivan (£753,550), Stuart Bingham (£749,719), Neil Robertson (£747,933), Judd Trump (£739,674) and Shaun Murphy (£706,090).
Zhou Yuelong and Kyren Wilson both earned six figure sums in 2015/16
China’s promising teenager Zhou Yuelong earned £116,041 during his second season on tour. The 18-year-old’s total was swelled by his victory for China – alongside Yan Bingtao – in the Snooker World Cup.
Kyren Wilson jumped into the world’s top 16 last season by winning the Shanghai Masters and reaching the quarter-finals of the World Championship. The talented Englishman collected £219,700 in 2015/16, compared to £28,582 the previous season.
Belgium’s Luca Brecel was another to enjoy a successful campaign. The German Masters runner-up earned £109,358, compared to £58,832 the previous season and £25,599 the one before.
The total amount won by the top 16 earners during 2015/16 was £4,036,640. This figure was reduced from £4,569,113 in 2014/15 and £4,612,453 in 2013/14, despite an overall prize money increase on the World Snooker Tour over this period.
This reflects two things. Firstly, more prize money has been distributed to the earlier rounds of tournaments in order to create a more even spread. This is evident in the fact that players between 17 and 32 on the earnings list won a total of £1,656,580 in 2015/16, compared to £1,397,069 in 2014/15 and £1,350,187 in 2013/14. And the player 40th on the list earned £54,850 in 2015/16 compared to £49,972 in 2014/15 and £45,830 in 2013/14.
Secondly, last season saw several big prizes won by players outside the overall top 16 earners. Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao’s victory in the World Cup was one example, joined by David Gilbert who won £65,000 by reaching the International Championship final, Liang Wenbo who collected £70,000 for his run to the UK Championship final, and Alan McManus whose semi-final spot at the World Championship was worth £66,000. This demonstrates the remarkable strength in depth on the tour; the capacity of players outside the top 16 to go deep in the biggest events.
The 2016/17 season will see overall prize money on the tour climb to £10 million for the first time.