6.3.09

ONE FOOT IN THE ALGARVE

The much delayed grand final of the World Series of Snooker, originally planned for the Kremlin in Moscow, will now be staged in the Algarve, Portugal the weekend after the World Championship.

The fact that it has changed venues after an initial high profile announcement is something of an embarrassment for organisers but I understand there was a very specific problem relating to the funding for the Moscow event, which would have had security implications.

The first year of World Series has proven two things:

1) It’s actually quite difficult planning and organising snooker tournaments, something the WPBSA and other promoters have also found over the years.

2) If you take snooker to places where it’s popular, people will come and watch it.

For despite the early problems, the World Series remains a good idea. Snooker on mainland Europe is hugely popular because of the widespread coverage of the professional circuit by Eurosport.

The World Series events in Berlin, Warsaw and Moscow were well attended and much enjoyed by the players.

If John Higgins and Pat Mooney hadn't taken snooker to these countries, who else would have done?

There are still areas I believe they need to work on.

One is the format. Getting local players involved is a good idea but a day of walkovers is not. I understand a qualifying system will be used this year and that should help make the action more competitive.

Also – and this applies to snooker in general – getting the media on board is vitally important to building up any sporting event.

However, anyone who mocks this new venture should go and speak to those people in Germany, Poland and Russia who had never seen live snooker before and came away with only positive thoughts about the sport.

Snooker needs as many fans, indeed as many tournaments, as it can find.

For this reason alone the World Series is worth supporting, whatever the difficulties it has experienced in its first year.

9 comments:

Monique said...

agreed and signed with both hands and both feet!

Janie said...

The World Series is a great new innovation, both for the participating players, pro and amateur, for the fans getting to see live top class snooker in their countries for the first time.

It is good to hear that new events are in the planning stage and it's to be hoped that World Series can overcome the obstacles of setting up and broadcasting from new venues, find free dates in the calendar.

I hope they're able to arrange another visit to Russia some time soon as there is a huge appetite for snooker in Russia.

?Some of us are lucky enough to be off to Russia (St. Petersburg) from 18-26 March for the EBSA organised European Team Championships and the European Under 19s.
This will be the second time Russia has stage major European events, following a very successful European Under 19s in Ekateringburg in 2005.
I'm very glad to report that there will be live scoring, live streaming thanks to our EBSA genius, Dariusz from Poland and on Global Snooker we'll be providing all the altest news, photos and reports from the event. That's if I can tear myself away from sightseeing in one of the most historic cities on the planet!

Claus Christensen said...

And later this year it's coming to Denmark and I can't wait to go. If this isn't a success I promise to shut up about bringing snooker to mainland Europe....

But we had Higgins here last year as a 'test', it was sold out and everyone agreed that is was an amazing experience (although the only century came from the danish player!). So thank goodness for World Series and other snooker delights brought to us non-brits.
Higgins visit got a two-page article in a major newspaper by the way...

Mig said...

I think the WSS also had the merit of showing a format for a ranking tournament that could work well in Europe.

At the moment, we’re all accustomed to the typical one week format, where most matches are played during week days, on afternoons and sometimes even mornings, when people are at work and are unable to watch them. That makes those matches less profitable and contributes to the whole event being expensive to put together, which is probably one of the reasons why there isn’t a ranking event in Europe at the moment.

There is no doubt that there is interest there, and if an exhibition event like WSS gets the attention it gets, it’s only logical that a ranking event would get even more attention.

So perhaps a ranking event with the format of WSS is the most viable option. I’m talking about an event played solely on weekends. For example, a ranking event could be split into four branches, and each of those branches could be staged in a different European city. That means each branch would have 7 matches, with 8 players, something that fits perfectly in 2 days (Saturday and Sunday). The winners of each of those parts would then gather in a 5th city to play the semis on a Saturday and the 2 session’s final on a Sunday.

Logistically it could be trickier, but profits would be maximized because with all matches solely on weekends more people would come to the venues and more people would watch them on TV.

Anonymous said...

well done Pat and John for all your efforts.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

what a great new for all of us portuguese snooker fans.
U-hu!!!!!

In Algarve with that marvelous sun and a big british communitty there it will be a success i´m sure.
Fortunately i have my vacations booked there for that precise weekend. How lucky can this be?
I´m thrilled!!!

We had hopes a few years ago with a booked exibition from Paul Hunter wish went down the drain for the sad reasons we all know.

Once again: great news!!!

Portugal expects you!!!

PatM said...

Hi Dave

Thank you for the blog,

AS usual some very good and relevant points made and we appreciate the mention.

We are looking forward to Portugal and another first. The event will be in Portimao, and is being sponsored by Portugal Tourism and The City of Portimao jointly. In truth it was not that embaressing when speaking with the players and giving them The Algarve as the venue for the final. Moscow and Russia are still very much in our thoghts and we will be back there, as Janie says there is a lot of activity in the region regards snooker and its a real opportunity for growth in the game.

We have been approached by a lot of British fans already asking about hotels etc and we will release these datails after the Press Launch in Portugal next friday, both John and Myself will be attending.

Cheers

PatM

kimball said...

A very specific problem related to the funding of the event?
Implicating security concerns?
Sounds exciting!

Anonymous said...

It is a rather exciting place at the moment, with rioting in the streets, indiscriminate violence at times directed at westerners, and food shelves empty in many stores.