In the intervening 20 years ITV has shown various invitation tournaments and, more recently, Power Snooker. But by broadcasting a full ranking event they are making a much greater commitment.
The World Open, which will still be broadcast by Eurosport, starts on February 25. ITV's commentary team comprises Clive Everton, Neal Foulds and Peter Drury.
ITV broadcast many hours of snooker during the boom years of the 1980s and achieved huge ratings but they eventually ran into serious scheduling problems. Their portfolio gradually shrunk from four tournaments to two and then none at all.
But ITV4 already screens a range of sport, from football to cricket, tennis and darts. Snooker is a welcome addition to the line-up.
ITV4 is a free to air channel available on all platforms so the tournament, which is held in Haikou, China, will reach a large potential audience in the UK.
It would be safe to assume that, if all goes well, ITV will look to show even more snooker in the future.