13.7.08

BERLIN TAKES MY BREATH AWAY

The World Series event in Berlin has attracted huge audiences of as many as 1,500 at a time, proving that reports of the snooker boom in Germany were not over-hyped.

The annual Paul Hunter Classic pro-am in Furth attracts many top players but the Berlin tournament is the first professional event staged in Germany since the 1998 German Masters.

This leads to one pertinent question: why has it taken ten years to get an event on in Germany?

In fact, it’s so pertinent I’ll ask it again: why has it taken ten years to get an event on in Germany?

Were it not for the World Series, it could easily have been another ten years, despite the huge growth in interest in recent times. Germany does not seem to feature in World Snooker’s plans at all.

Ten years ago, 5,000 people played snooker regularly in Germany. Today, that figure has quadrupled to 20,000.

Television audiences on German Eurosport have risen for each World Championship since 2003.

In one week of this year’s Crucible event the top ten rated programmes were all snooker.

What impressed me about the packed house yesterday was how fair the spectators were.

Of course many if not most of them were hoping the local wildcards would spring an upset but they warmly applauded John Higgins, Graeme Dott, Stephen Maguire and Shaun Murphy.

Put simply, they just wanted to see top class snooker close-up. The World Series has given them this chance.

Lasse Munstermann was the only local player who came close to causing a shock but failed to take his chance to beat Higgins and lost 4-3.

This raises an interesting quandary for the World Series organisers. Some felt the local aspect of this new innovation was one of its plus points but in fact most first round contests so far have been a series of mismatches.

It’s true that Gary Britton beat Ken Doherty in Jersey and Munstermann gave Higgins a scare but, unsurprisingly, most of the wildcards have been overawed and outclassed.

It is hard to see how the Moscow and Warsaw wildcards will not suffer similar fates.

However, this is not a criticism. The large crowds in Berlin were in part for the local players and I’m sure German snooker fans are grateful that the World Series has come to town.

Snooker tournaments should go to places where the game is popular.

There are few places in which it is as popular as Germany.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Reckon it would be a good idea to put these 2 day tournaments on during the week as Snooker cannot compete with the Eurosport weekend schedule. The channel has put Snooker well down the pecking order with other sports and really to say Eurosport were the host broadcasters the coverage was just awful(as usual). No semi final and just half a final, I mean,come on. It would have been better to show the whole event in full in highlight packages at a later date. For years now I have found myself watching crap sport(on Eurosport) whilst waiting for the advertised snooker to come on.

Nick B

PS Great commentary though, Dave. Don't think it will be long before u get the call from the BBC.

Anonymous said...

Yes Dave all good comments and The BBC awaits I think for you in the future but I have one small criticism lol. You said Shaun Murphy played well against Stephen Maguire and he did , for the final two frames, the rest of it was pretty dire stuff.

Jonathan said...

I feel sure there would be sponsors lining up to fund a ranking tournament out there in Europe. The money would be there, the TV would be there via Eurosport, players would be overjoyed at another earning opportunity - all World Snooker have to do is pull their finger out and make it happen. The World Series effectively has been a feasibility study carried out for nothing on their behalf - they should now embrace this opportunity to enhance the snooker season with another ranking tournament

Anonymous said...

A resounding success yes, with the fans at least but on scouring the German papers online I cannot find one single article and that is bad imho.
If snooker is to become anywhere near what it used to be the press must show more interest. It's improving slowly in the UK but the focus is still too much on the old Master's like Davis, Parrott and White. They , great though they were are part of snooker history now and the press need to realise that there is new and exciting talent apart from Ronnie and co. Maybe thenwe will see some progress.