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  • Ssb - new season calendar announced

    The calendar of events for the 2013/14 season, released today, illustrates how professional snooker has been transformed since Barry Hearn’s arrival at the helm of World Snooker in 2010.


    Let’s remember why the players turned to Hearn: because they said they wanted more tournaments and more prize money. They’ve got both.


    Next season there are 11 confirmed ranking tournaments, with at least one more likely, plus eight Players Tour Championship events as well as the Masters and assorted other competitions.


    Total prize money rises from £6.4m to £8m. In 2010 it was £3.5m.


    Hearn believes – and I for one agree with him – that first prizes should rise to give tournaments headline-catching winners’ amounts. The 2014 world champion will receive £300,000, a record for any event.


    Hearn’s whole ethos is to encourage and reward success. But, of course, not everyone can be successful.


    It was apt really that the calendar should be released today because Hearn rose to prominence as a sports promoter in the Thatcher era where it was possible to become hugely successful and financially prosperous while many others were simply left behind.


    Mark Allen, in a rare foray into controversy, pointed out today in a BBC interviewthat this divide could deepen in snooker and lead to many players simply packing it in.


    Because although prize money has risen, it costs a lot of money to be a snooker professional. Travel and hotel expenses mount up, particularly with frequent visits to China. More tournaments mean more expense.


    Top players with anything about them should have sponsors to cover this but lower down it’s tough.


    Many would argue professional sport should be tough. It is, after all, the survival of the fittest, but for young players starting out there is the danger that they will be lost to the game before they’ve begun, and any sport needs to renew itself with new players.


    Allen made some relevant points, although when he stated that he “deserves more money” he lost some support.


    Nobody deserves anything. We’re all governed by market forces in the fields in which we work, and snooker players are no different.


    World Snooker doesn’t have a money tree they plant each year to fund the circuit. It comes from good business practice, from the deals Hearn and his team have done.


    The calendar reveals that pre qualifying for ranking tournaments – playing down from 128 to 64 – will take place at various venues in Gloucester, Barnsley and Doncaster.


    The latter two have been used many times by Matchroom Sport and are perfectly fit for purpose as far as I can tell. They will, crucially, be open to the public.


    Wildcards in Chinese ranking events have been cut from eight to four but this is still too many for, I suspect, most players.


    The Wuxi Classic began as an invitation tournament for one reason: Ding Junhui comes from Wuxi City. It is now a ranking event but while Ding will have to qualify in the UK, a wildcard – let’s say Zhou Yuelong for argument’s sake – will be at the venue as of right. This makes no sense at all.


    But the quibbles are outweighed by the considerable progress Hearn has made. Next season will be the fourth of his original five year plan and snooker now has a thriving calendar.


    It should also be pointed out that it isn’t compulsory to play in every tournament. The new money list ranking system makes picking and choosing more likely for tournament winners if they want to give an event or two a miss.


    Players should seize the opportunities while they are there. There’s a line in an Ian McEwan novel about Thatcher: “we loathed the government under whom we grew rich.”


    There are plenty of players doing very well under Hearn, much better than they were doing before his arrival.


    For fans there is much more snooker to watch on TV and online and there are more territories being explored.


    Snooker has taken a long, long time to get its act together but the old divisions are now irrelevant. There's no voting Hearn out, no EGMs and knife-edge votes any more.

    There's just snooker to play and snooker to watch: and plenty of it at that.


    More...

  • #2
    Ferret or anyone else in the letter to tour players is the difference in round structures between A and C that A is 1 v 128, 2 v 127 etc and C is 1 v 65 2 v 66 etc otherwise I don't get the difference,am I mistaken? cheers

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    • #3
      Nobody should be forced to play every single event of a full 28 tournament calendar.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by david16 View Post
        Nobody should be forced to play every single event of a full 28 tournament calendar.
        I think this is where the "Option" may come in, where a player can pick which event to attend, ?
        Up the TSF!

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