5.9.08

IT'S WHITE V DOHERTY - SO WHY CAN'T WE WATCH IT?

I am today in Prestatyn for the final day of the Shanghai Masters qualifiers where I am hoping to watch Jimmy White against Ken Doherty.

They are two of snooker’s greatest ever players, as are Steve Davis and Mark Williams, also in action today.

Matthew Stevens is playing here, as is Stephen Lee and a host of recognisable names and players capable of great performances.

But unless you are here in North Wales you will not be able to see a ball of any of it, and even if you are it may well be sold out.

Is it just me who finds it odd that, in 2008, the governing body cannot stream at least one match per session on their website?

A single webcam would do the trick. The excellent Global Cue Sports Centre has done this for the PIOS and other tournaments and CueSportTV do it for pool and will be streaming the upcoming Belgian Open.

I was there at the start of the great snooker/internet revolution when I worked for TSN (now 110sport) on what was a genuinely innovative, comprehensive website. It’s only fault was that it was several years ahead of its time.

We showed the Scottish Masters live and would have shown much more had TSN’s offer for internet rights been accepted by the then World Snooker administration.

Except they were not interested and the great revolution failed to materialise.

More recently, a company who specialise in webcasting approached World Snooker but were again rebuffed. They went to Barry Hearn’s Matchroom instead and thus the Championship League was born.

World Snooker is currently revamping their website. The best thing about it is its live scoring feature.

It is easy to be complacent about this. It’s not so long ago that the only way you could find out the scores if you weren’t at the qualifiers was to phone up the tournament director.

So live scoring is a great innovation but surely the next step is to stream matches? If you charged snooker fans a small fee I’m sure many would cough up to watch (the same could apply at tournaments with only one TV table).

There is cost involved but it is not fortunes. White v Doherty is a match that will be far more interesting to many, many people than some of those played in the final stages.

At the very least, World Snooker should sort something out for the final qualifying round of the World Championship next March.

This will again feature Doherty, Williams, Davis, Stevens, Lee and, possibly, White, John Parrott, Liang Wenbo and many other players people are interested in watching.

Sir Rodney Walker, World Snooker’s chairman, recently told BBC Radio 5 Live that the governing body has £4m in reserves.

This would be a good area in which to spend some of it.

11 comments:

Monique said...

Paying for watching streaming? Is it worth it form WSA point of view? Once you do that - asking for payment I mean - you add overhaid hence costs to something that isn't so costly to set up. Certainly less costly than paying people to do some accounting...
Plus very selfishly, I'm afraid that the intricaties of international payments will end up in exclusion of non UK users ... like BBC streaming. Once again that would be a shame when snooker needs to develop worldwide and change to survive.

Supaselby said...

David;

You have an excellent point there regarding the possibility of live streaming for the qualifiers.

As you said Janie at Global Snooker Centre does a fantastic job with the PIOS as did Bet 365 with the Championship League earlier in the year.

The World Bowls Tour ran by former WPBSA board member Nigel Oldfield offers excellent streaming of it's four world ranking events (International Open, Scottish Open, World Championship & Welsh Open) through a company called Horizon Software. You have the option for a minimal fee to watch a match/es live or you can purchase the match and download to your PC so you can watch the game as often as you like.

This service the World Bowls Tour has offered for the last three seasons so must be popular and on top of that Nigel has just launched the Super Series of World Bowls featuring the likes of Greg Harlow, Ian Bond, David Gourlay and Jason Greenslade in a Championship League style format which will be broadcast solely through the internet.

I think this is a great opportunity for World Snooker and to promote the qualifiers to a wider audience instead of your average BBC/Eurosport viewers but sadly one they probably won't take up.

Ryan

Brownie said...

stop typing Dave and face your webcam towards the table!

Corben said...

Jimmy won the match 5-1. o_0

GRS said...

Have been to Prestatyn in the offseason when there are not many people there at all, sometimes you seem to be able to go straight in and other times you have to pay a small admissionn fee. Would imagine there are a few more people from the camp watching perhaps on a rainy day like today presuming theres still a few holidaymakers there.

RichP said...

Great post Dave and agree 100%. As someone who likes a flutter the more matches I can watch the better. It's amazing how many people would watch these games and as you said the last qualifying rd of the World Champs would make for great tv. The betting is always considerable for this round. World snooker seem to be making changes following your various blog suggestions so lets hope this one makes an impact.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave

Could not agree more, I spent two years down with Marcus Campbell and Jamie Burnett and I have to say I have yet to witness more intese and exciting snooker than that at the last stages of qualifying, and as you say now we have the greats of the 80's and 90's playing at Prestatyn it really is the most fantastic snooker (it got me hooked)

Anonymous said...

Until the suggestion I never even thought of the use of a webcam to show live streaming. Now you've brought it to light it's so obvious the question has to be why the hell don't World Snooker do it? Silly question really given the history of the administration. Clive Everton should run snooker!

CueSportTV said...

Thanks for the mention of CueSport TV above Dave. When we set up the channel last year snooker was always on our priority list, however, pool has been much easier to come by.

I had spoken about the qualifiers in Prestatyn but was not really given the time of day - the qualifiers would attract interest from all over the world and a small fee to watch the live stream would certainly be a possibility - and by small I mean a couple of pounds.

After your post I am now going to try again and see if we can make this a reality.

CueSportTV said...

Thanks for the mention of CueSport TV above Dave. When we set up the channel last year snooker was always on our priority list, however, pool has been much easier to come by.

I had spoken about the qualifiers in Prestatyn but was not really given the time of day - the qualifiers would attract interest from all over the world and a small fee to watch the live stream would certainly be a possibility - and by small I mean a couple of pounds.

After your post I am now going to try again and see if we can make this a reality.

Janie Watkins said...

Global Cue Sports offered to stream qualifiers during the 2007-8 season but were turned down by WSa.
It wouldn't have cost WSA anything, it would have cost us, but WSA wanted us to pay for the priviledge of doing all the work and providing the stream.
Sadly, while GCS is generous we are not currently a registered charity!
Businessland, the sponsors of the Pontin's under 21 series put web cam facilities into Pontin's three years ago. There are two webcam in place over table one and if left hand and right hand had managed to communicate, it would have been possible to put put basic webcams on all 8 tables, while choosing one a the tv match to provide higher quality production.
Another example of where the "amateur" games is light years ahead of the professional.
In poland this June the EBSA providing live scoring and live casts of all SIXTEEN tables. you could choose any match to watch at any time at no cost.
Despte being in business I am still not in favour of pay per view. I feel quite strongly that the game needs to promote itself in every way possible and provide a much better service to the fans and sponsors than it currently does. Webcasting should be part of the service.