888.com have revealed why they terminated their contract to sponsor the World Championship three years into a five-year contract.
Their statement reads:
“888 can confirm that following a very successful collaboration with World Snooker which delivered excellent television exposure for the 888 brand it has ended its sponsorship of the event with immediate effect.
“The advertising environment in the UK, with regard to gaming operators, has changed significantly since January 2006, when the initial agreement was signed. 888’s marketing strategy is constantly evolving to reflect current market circumstances and can now be much broader than two years ago; an exciting opportunity for the company.
“However, 888 will continue to be involved as associate sponsor with the Grand Prix and the UK Championship until their contract with World Snooker ends at the end of 2008.
“888 has the highest regard and respect for World Snooker as an organisation and is confident the World Snooker Championship will continue to attract sell-out crowds for the most coveted prize in the sport.”
As you will see, the departing sponsor makes it clear there has been no fallout with World Snooker.
Indeed, it is hard to see how World Snooker could have treated 888 any better than they did, giving them as they did a logo space on every player’s waistcoat, considerable signage at tournament venues and even allowing green ribbons on the famous old silver trophy.
I thought 888 were excellent sponsors. World Snooker’s general attitude to the media is one of disdain – which is why they attract so much negative publicity – but 888 were the exact opposite. They were enthusiastic, co-operative and very friendly.
They helped pay for the Snooker Writers Association’s annual awards, dinner and handbook – gestures that were very much appreciated by the media.
It’s a shame their involvement in snooker has come to such an abrupt end.