Crowds have been poor in Bahrain. This is a new event and they tend to take time to build up but some will wonder if there was ever really sufficient interest in this country.

My attitude is that any new tournament is better than none and that this one shouldn’t be knocked.

But to see even the great Stephen Hendry playing in an arena that isn’t even half full is a little dispiriting.

Of course, crowds are not always great in the UK. In Belfast they were poor, although I’d put that down to the fact it was held in August. In Glasgow last month they were much better.

Snooker is still very popular in Britain but there needs to be a big promotional push to let people know there are tournaments actually happening.

Unfortunately, relations between the media and the WPBSA have just fallen to an all time low for reasons I will explain in due course.

What we do know is that in continental Europe there would be a huge turnout were major events to be staged.

At the Berlin leg of the World Series in July there were sell-out crowds of up to 1,600 at a time.

In Warsaw last month there were also huge audiences and I believe this would be repeated in many other parts of Europe.

Let’s hope the final in Bahrain attracts a full house.

Top players revel in a great atmosphere. It also makes for good viewing. Despite all the non-entries and withdrawals, the cream has risen to the top now and it would be a shame if they did not get the support they deserve.


Baby Jenx said...

Here, here. I also think it's time to come back to The Republic of Ireland. There has been a great tradition of great snooker in Ireland. Some fantastic events were staged here(most notably at Goffs) and some of the finest, and most exciting players have come from the Emerald Isle, Higgins, Doherty and Taylor. We haven't had a ranking event here in over three years (I'm not sure what happened to the Irish Masters? Maybe Dave can shed some light on this for me?).

On another note. It's hard not to get excited about Hendry's performance today, but did anyone else notice that the long ones were going in too? His Achilles heel of late, if he can sustain this, who's going to stop him?

Looking forward to tomorrow.

Baby Jenx

Monique said...

so much fot the press articles published before the event claiming that they were overflowed with demands for tickets...
People from mainland Europe travel long distances to watch snooker life. I do, many of my friends do. Hamm end of this month will probably be packed.

But of course no member of WPBSA board is living in mainland Europe ... or am I wrong?

Dave H said...

The Irish Masters disappeared after the dates the promoter had been given were instead given to the China Open, although I suspect it may have been more complicated than that.

The tourbnament was better as an invitation event. Goffs was probably the best venue on the circuit.

PatM said...

Just for information, Goffs is under consideration for a World Series event 2009.

RichP said...

Why has Bristol never had a tournament of any note? Obviously the WSA are based there so would have thought we'd of had something there.

Dave H said...

Actually Bristol has staged two ranking events - the 1983 Professional Players Tournament and the 1992 Strachan Open, although neither were televised

Baby Jenx said...

Wow, could patm really be Pat Mooney? John Higgins' right-hand man in The World Series?! I do hope so as this then adds credence to the Goffs claim! I would love to see snooker return to Goffs!

Thanks a mill for the info Pat.... legend!

Baby Jenx

RichP said...

Thanks Dave, i'd forgotten about the Strachan, I seem to remember it had very low prize money in comparison to the tournaments of that time. However, by today's standards it was probably like winning the lottery!!

Anonymous said...

Rich P;

The Strachan Open was held at the Thornbury Leisure Centre back in 1992 and was well supported. It was won by James Wattana who beat John Parrott in the final. Like this weeks Bahrain Championship it lacked a lot of the top players - Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Jimmy White and Alain Robidoux all skipped the event boasting a first prize of £12,500!

Likewise the Matchroom League Play-Offs were held there the following year, and a fantastic final between Jimmy White and Alan McManus. My memory was Jimmy, whilst being interviewed for the crowd and Eurosport by MC Alan Hughes, dropping the trophy!

I agree, being from Bristol, that we should have a major event on the calendar but I thank my lucky stars that the Welsh Open at Newport is only a short drive across the bridge.

Sadly though, I felt last weeks Premier League evening was very poorly supported at the Newport Centre which resulted in John McDonald and co moving everyone to the front so the venue looked busy for the live SKY broadcast. Very similiar to when Newport staged the 2006 World Cup Of Pool.


Anonymous said...

Have World Snooker given any reasons why was Bahrain chosen as the venue? Was it just a case of "we want to stage a tournament", and WS went "OK, when do you want us." Surely Dubai would ensure bigger crowds.

RichP said...

Yeah Ryan I remember the Matchroom final as I went to the first session (couldn't get tickets for the evening session).

Well Thornbury isn't the ideal venue for snooker. I was thinking more Bristol City centre where people may actually be able to get to. Where in Bristol was the Professional Players tournament held?

I also tend to get my live snooker fix at the Newport Centre - but again crowds could be better.

stuartfanning said...

I've found it very strange that there appears to be little sponsorship of the Bahrain event. There's a DHL logo along with all the World Snooker and allied stuff around the table. So who is putting up the money for it?

To change the subject a bit. Dave I wish you and the other Eurosport commentators would not keep pretending that your 'commentary position' is in Bahrain rather than a studio in Feltham, West London!

Scott said...

Is Rob Walker over there?

Maybe he could send out a rallying cry: "Let's get the Bahrainis in the building!"

Anonymous said...


The Professional Players Tournament (PPT) was the fore-runner of the Rothmans Grand Prix and was held, just once, in 1983 at the Redwood Lodge Hotel & Country Club in Failand. In fact I think the qualifiers for the Rothmans Grand Prix in 1984 were also held there.

The last ever staging of the English Professional Championship in 1989 were also held there, but like the Strachan Open in 1992 Steve Davis and Jimmy White skipped the event. From what I can re-collect as a 10 year old watching my first live snooker with my Dad and Brother it was well supported.

You mention the Bristol City ground at Ashton Gate as a possible venue in Bristol, didn't I hear that in the summer the Dolman Stand held a PDC Players Championship Darts event featuring the likes of 13 times World Champion Phil Taylor? If that's the case I'm more than sure it can accommodate snooker.


Janie Watkins said...

ROFL at Scott - nice one!

I don't think it makes much difference whether you go to Manama, Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Doha from the point of view of crowds BUT i do think this tournament was under promoted because of the rushed late nature of announcing dates.

The Gulf countries, particularly Dubai, Qatar and Bahrain are pushing very strongly for tourism, particularly sports tourism. They're falling over themselves to attract top quality events in any sport and to bring the tourists with them.

These Gulf countries have a very small population, albeit boosted by extremely poor ex-pats from the Indian sub-continent, who'd love to go to the snooker but can't due to their working hours.

We saw it at the Doha Asian Games in 2006 and that's probably one of the reasons Doha didn't win their olympic bid, because they certainly have all the stadia in place and will soon build more if they needed too.

The analysis of the Doha Asian Games was that there just wasn't a history amongst the people of attending these liv events. The Bahranis and Qataris etc will be immensely proud that their country is selected to host a major event, but they don't actually go so far as to go and support the event in person unless they're a fanatic of that particular sport.

So the answer to future events is for long term pre-planning and a major push to make the events attractive to sports tourists, and I doubt there's many of us from Europe who wouldn't enjoy a few days inthe sun in November!

Anonymous said...

Nothing to do with promotion. It's to do with a lack of basic market research. This is what happens when you take snooker - or any sport - to a place where no-one other than an elite few are actually interested in it.

Another tactical blunder by the desperate gang at world snooker, spending money they can ill afford on flights of fancy - or actually fancy flights

Anonymous said...

I think World Snooker is trying very very hard to destroy this sport. If they were smart, they would hold a tournament in Germany, one in Holland or Belgium, Poland, those kinds of countries. Especially Germany would be good for the crowds, you could get 2 ranking events in Germany with filled arenas, as the World Series has proven already. There is just not enough intwerest in the middle-east, so why do they move a tournament there?

Anonymous said...

Ron said "I think World Snooker is trying very very hard to destroy this sport."

I completely disagree Ron. The truth is it comes really easy to them!

Matt@PSB said...

God it's pathetic tonight for the second semi-final, there genuinely can't be more than 30 people there.

Anonymous said...

If I was in charge of World Snooker there would be 5 extra ranking events next season spread out across Europe. And the crowds would be huge. But I'm not in charge and the clowns that are are killing the game we all love. Methinks it's time for a breakaway tour a la PDC in darts.

Claus Christensen said...

Bring it to Europe please. I would travel anywhere in Denmark to see a tournament if one was to be staged. These oil money tournaments are pathetic and a waste of time. In the end it's the crowds that determine the local support and Bahrain is obviously a spectacular failure. Bring it to to Europe!!

Anonymous said...

UK is in Europe..bring it home! ;)

Claus Christensen said...

As weird as it sounds I too (being a dane) would love to see all tournaments being in the UK and Ireland. But if they are so keen to move away from home why not have those tournaments take place in other european countries where the popularity of the sport is sky high? I mean, Bahrain..??