World Snooker has licensed digital rights in China to Rigour Media, in a new ten-year deal.
The agreement gives Rigour exclusive control of digital audio-visual rights in China, for all World Snooker events until 2027. Fans throughout China will be able to watch World Snooker tournaments using Rigour Media’s platform Superstar Online as well as other sub-licensed platforms.
This wide-reaching deal also includes e-gaming rights, e-community and social media rights, licensing and e-commerce and an official membership scheme in China.
World Snooker and the sport’s governing body the WPBSA have worked closely with Rigour Media in recent years. At the official academy in Beijing run by the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association and the WPBSA, Rigour is the training and technology partner. And at major professional tournaments including the World Championship, Rigour provides the on-screen technology which tracks the position of the balls on the table.
World Snooker recently announced a new agreement with China’s national broadcaster CCTV to televise snooker events, which also runs until 2027. CCTV currently broadcasts four ranking events in China plus the World Cup, UK Championship, Masters, Welsh Open and World Championship.
Speaking at a press conference in Beijing to announce the agreement with Rigour Media, World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are delighted to sign this long-term agreement with Rigour and we look forward to working with their team for many years to come.
“Snooker has grown in China at an astonishing rate in recent years and shows no signs of slowing down. We have capitalised on this expansion with more tournaments, more prize money for the players and more snooker to watch for fans, both on television and online.
“These ten-year deals with CCTV and Rigour Media will allow us to continue our long term strategy of developing and exploiting the vast popularity of snooker in China. And for the hundreds of millions of snooker fans in the country this is fantastic news as they will have more and more opportunities to watch the best players at the biggest tournaments.
“There is also scope within this agreement to develop areas which will bring fans closer to the players, as Rigour have already done through their Superstar Online platform.
“Alongside our friends at the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association, Rigour and CCTV we look forward to building a very bright future for our sport in China.”
Rigour has also partnered with the Chinese Baseball Association to provide technological services to the CBA Baseball League for its television coverage and training. Rigour provided sports data analysis for the Chinese national tennis team and baseball team at the 2017 National Games, and provides technical training support and data analysis for the Chinese Winter Games Training Centre.