The WPBSA has today announced a new Pro Challenge Series of seven tournaments - open to anyone on the main tour - designed to give the players more playing opportunities.

This is good news. Players have justifiably complained that they are left twiddling their thumbs for long periods between tournaments.

If they don’t play in these new events then these complaints become less valid.

I would have preferred the new series to carry ranking status at a lower points tariff than the major events – as I suggested last January – because this would encourage participation from the better known players and thus increase their credibility and the publicity around them.

Now for the controversy: four of these tournaments are played under the standard rules. The other three are using only six reds.

I can’t help thinking it would be better to be one or the other: either the whole thing done properly or the whole thing done as ‘Super Sixes’ if this experiment really must be continued.

However, it was apparently players – Dave Harold and Michael Holt included – who helped come up with the format.

The bottom line is this: more tournaments is A Good Thing. OK, so they presumably won’t be televised but there is scope for internet streaming and anything that creates the impression there is something happening in the game should be applauded.

One of snooker’s problems is that it has ‘fallen under the radar’ of late because of the gaps between tournaments.

Those gaps are gradually being plugged: by the Championship League, the World Series and now this new Pro Challenge Series.

There is also reasonable money available - £5,000 for the winners of the 15 red tournaments and £3,000 for the winners of the 6 reds events.

If that doesn’t sound much to you then it’s more than you’d get for being in the club practising.

There isn’t sufficient money in snooker’s coffers at the moment to put on another three or four major ranking events.

But the new Pro Challenge Series at least means players will be able to do what they are supposed to do: play snooker.

Pro Challenge 1
28-30 July
Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds

Pro Challenge 2 - Super Sixes
31 August - 1 September
Pontin’s, Prestatyn

Pro Challenge 3
9-11 November
Venue tbc

Pro Challenge 4
4-6 January
Venue tbc

Pro Challenge 5
16-18 February
Venue tbc

Pro Challenge 6 - Super Sixes
16-17 March
Venue tbc

Pro Challenge 7 - Super Sixes
8-9 April
Venue tbc


Anonymous said...

four 15 ball events and three 6 ball events?

world snooker really believe in the 6 ball lark

but surely the best way to make something attractive is to make in more financially rewarding.

it might just be me, but I think they've missed a real marketing trick here

Matt said...

Good news.

I'm not a fan of the six-red format but to be honest I'm not overly concerned about it so long as it is not used in ranking events. If they want to trial it in this series then I'm not too concerned.

Will be interesting to see where the final five tournaments are staged.

Monique said...

Well it's more snooker and it's not ranking. Some opportunity for the players to play competitive snooker, yet more relaxed and maybe we will now see some of the elusive "characters" emerge ... Also an opportunity to bring (back) snooker to venues where there was none until now or not in recent years. And they are short events hopefully. I just find it a pity they haven't organised that over extended week-ends instead of working days. They should have got more audience, especially more young audience.

Anonymous said...

£5k & £3k to the winners. What a joke!

No sponsors or TV coverage on a new format to the game? Another joke.

Even a 6 furlong claimer on the all-weather at Lingfield on a cold February weekday can attract a sponsor and more prize-money than what's being offered.

The sport really is sinking to an all time low.

MattWilson said...

Will be very interesting to see what other venues they decide to use. I would suggest Pontins, Leeds and the Academy in Sheffield are the only ones with tables decent enough to host professional snooker events.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody agree with me that WSA have had just another knee jerk reaction to try to stop other Tournaments like World Series & League snooker from becoming more successful?
I cannot believe that professional players would be interested in these comps with the prize money on offer - it's virtually the same as the Ponins Pro-Ams.
I do not think it is a very good reflection on WSA.

Anonymous said...

the sooner the WSA drop this super sixes crap the better.......

it isnt snooker and it isnt exciting.......i find it a boring concept if im being honest.

Anonymous said...

think world snooker series has stopped it self ,they cant even pay the players properly ! Lol

Anonymous said...

Who cares what you think wildJONESEYE? Go plagarise this blog on break-down.co.uk and comment there where we don't have to read your daily ramblings.

6 red snooker is alright if you've played it, it's quite a laugh. Obviously the 15 red version is the proper game but 6 is fine as a game itself.

How original using Prestatyn Pontins....

Anonymous said...

anon 4.21pm

i dont give a stuff what you say because you just a wuming troll being a pratt.

could you stop being a pratt on line if its at all possible whitch is very doubtfull.

Anonymous said...

Maybe these events could attract local sponsors? Maybe the local butcher could put up, say, a week's family meat pack for the winner and a dozen pork chops for second. Or the local pub could put up a case of beer for the winner, a dozen cans for runner-up, 6 cans each for beaten semi finalists. We've got to start encouraging companies to sponsor events, no matter how small. When they see what a successful, worldwide product we have to offer they'll be glad they got involved.

Anonymous said...

BTW thats Break-Off.co.uk..

just incase people want to join in some snooker debates where most walleys that can be anonimous here cant be wums.

Anonymous said...

I've just had a look at the prize money in the recent darts tournaments. This is how much snooker is now lagging behind darts.

Blue Square Open - £40k to the winner

US Open - $50k to the winner

Premier League - £125k to the winner

A darts tournament in the USA can attract a sponsor and offer $50k to the winner while snooker is offering £3k, doesn't have a sponsor and is played at Pontins.

Every darts tournament listed throughout the year has a sponsor.

Snooker is as good as dead.

jamie brannon said...

These events though are not generating any interest though outside the snooker hardcore.

Anonymous said...

its more snooker and for thoes that will criticise it there was this type of thing happening in the early 90s that at that time carried some ranking points far less than the Ranking Tournaments but it was a good idea....

however drop this super sixes s*** its been tryed in the World Series and i found it as boring as hell....

i prefered it when the full 15 reds was on the table and it increased the excitement of the frames...

Anonymous said...

This is probably just a test to see how popular the events are. I would assume next season the 15 red tournaments will carry limited ranking points and if the 6 red events are popular they will progress into bigger spectacles

Anonymous said...

what a wally he must love break off he copies and pastes off it....

anon 5.15 or whoever you are possibly frame and fortune get a life you sad pillock.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that a leading UK based market research company are interested in co-sponsoring this series alongside the German Central Bank. It's likely to be called the MORI-Bund Pro Challenge Series.

Anonymous said...

regarding Darts price money the US Open gets $50,000 well the UK Open winner in snooker gets more than that...

the Masters Champion gets £150,000 and John Higgins alone got £75,000 more than both 2009 Darts World Champions together.

Anonymous said...

Anon @5.19 stated:

"This is probably just a test to see how popular the events are."

FFS, £3 poxxy grand to the winner. Players could easily be left out of pocket simply for turning up.

That is the crux of the matter.

Anonymous said...

theres no obligation to turn up but if its in a venue near you and you can walk there it will cost you a price of a walking shoe and you go home with £3,000 if you win....nice return i reckon ....

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 5.24 re darts prize money. You can spin it any way you want, but this is the top 10 in the current darts money list?

TAYLOR, Phil England £639,513

WADE, James England £319,986

BARNEVELD, Raymond van Netherlands £230,257

PART, John Canada £181,123

JENKINS, Terry England £140,367

KING, Mervyn England £137,690

skipped to 10th position...

LLOYD, Colin England £125,157

Given that they're only 6 months into their year-long season with the WC's to follow in Dec, darts is doing rather well.

Anonymous said...

they are doing rather well because theres more tournaments...

truth is snooker is very near that with less work load.

Anonymous said...

snooker is back where it started it needs the players to take responsability and even play for nothing to get the sport back on it feet.....

you can criticise the WSA All you want but its a joint effort by everyone that would get snooker out of this s***....

Anonymous said...

What an oxymoronic reply @ 5.35.

"they are doing rather well because theres more tournaments..."

This in a thread where the paltry sum of £3k as a winners prize is openly welcomed.

FFS, wake-up. They are doing rather well because they have outside sponsorship and are run by a proactive association.

Anonymous said...

its 2 simple to say the Association has to do the donkey work and the players get the rewards its got to be a 50/50 thing so that we get this sport back on its feet.

people tend to forget the Work that Tennis players and not just Tennis Association put in to the sport in the 70s and 80s so that todays players gets rewarded.....

Anonymous said...

I've heard from a good source that these new 'events' are there to sweeten the blow of some cancelled ranking events next season.

The BBC is under massive pressure internally to justify where it is spending our cash, and there have been rumblings that they are likely to cut back on their coverage of events in a troubled sport like snooker.

The main problem many senior execs see is that it's just the BBC who are keeping the sport afloat. The lack of sponsors is of course not a concern for the BBC, but the demands placed on them by the WSA as their only serious source of revenue (Betfred apart) is making for an increasingly tense stand-off.

Anonymous said...

5:42 PM

if you like it or not what i said is the truth.

the reason darts has sponsors is its a cheaper alternative in most cases.

Darts is now where snooker was 20 years ago.

the first £200,000 price money to the winner of a darts tournament will go to the 2010 World Champion.

Snookers first £200,000 first price was in 1991.

Anonymous said...

I have only one thing to say about the decision to make almost half of these tournaments "six reds".

June 30th 2009 will come to be remembered by all those who truly follow the game as the beginning of the end.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 5:57

Interesting that you too have heard that "some" ranking events may be cancelled. I have also been told that The Welsh Open looks to be for the chop.

This came from a source within BBC Wales who informed me that no contracts are being awarded to outside contractors (lighting/sound/etc) for this event as assurances can't be given by the WPBSA.

The BBC interactive coverage was gash anyway so it's little real loss.

Anonymous said...

What professional snooker players want from their Association is a minimum of 8 ranking comps in a season with decent prize money so they are able to make a living - even down to the 96.
I do not know what the WSA and the commercial arm of WSA do for their money that they are paid out of the players funds.
I am certain that if Germany, Belgium or Russia were approached in the correct manner a sponsored ranking event would be possible. Even if WSA had to subsidise the event at the outset, with the correct marketing & sales I'm sure it would show a profit.
What are they keeping the huge reserve for - the next court case?
We have been hearing for at least 3 years now that the WSA are "in talks" with regard to more events and now there are rumours of LESS events. They are obviously talking to the wrong people!!
What do these people do for their money and how do the players let them get away with it??
I'm sure Rodney Walker did his relationship with the BBC no good by not appearing on their recent programme - too busy at a dinner to even take a phone call!!
The sooner the players with the clout take responsibility and control the better.
Val O'Neill

Claus Christensen said...

I sincerely hope this six reds concept doesn't catch on. The break building, the centuries....(and the elusive maximum). That's too big a part of the game to scrap. And again: let snooker flourish in mainland Europe, oust mr. Walker and we can lay these rubbish "snooker is dead" prophecies permanently to rest.

Anonymous said...

the sooner they forget 6 reds the better- it takes the breakmaking skill out of the game and encourages negative safety too much

Anonymous said...

come on people -here are the facts:
snooker is suffering commercially cos of a lack of sponsorship. I say "commercially" cos in terms of the actual sport itself -we all know that the standard of play is clearly higher than ever.
Fact: snooker dosen't have enough sponsorship money at the mo
Fact: we are in an economic melt down and companies don't wanna spend their money on sport
Fact: WSA are under pressure to improve things without anyone giving them the money to do it
Fact: they are doing what they've been asked to do -hold more tournaments
Question -what else can they do?

Anonymous said...

it has been complacent over many years that has affected the comercial aspect of snooker.

instead of waiting for the governement to ban tabaco sponsorship as a governing body they should have droped tabacco not tobacco being withdrawn that way the sport holds the aces instead of looking desparate.

Anonymous said...

10:23pm "Fact: we are in an economic melt down and companies don't wanna spend their money on sport"

Wrong, most companies don't want to spend money on snooker, i agree with you as you say we are in an economic meltdown , but ask yourself why is it sponsor's dont want to come to snooker, most other sport's are coping well in this meltdown, look at this week's wimbledon tennis, whoever wins either mens or women's will pick up a staggering £850,000, golf, darts, cricket, many other sport's don't have problem's getting sponsor's so why is it just snooker.

Anonymous said...

question is why dont they want to spend money on snooker.

it cant be snookers popularity because despite what many that post here want to believe snooker is stiv very popular and has more BBC TV covarage than Tennis.

for 2 weeks in June/July Tennis is the flavour of thoes months however for the other 50 weeks of the year Snooker is more popular in britain.

ok maybee not on a world stage however it is a growing sport world wide in china and thanx to eurosport people who knew nothing about snooker only 10 years ago are fanatical about it now.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10.05am

It's funny how this blog and Selby's blog were comparing tennis to snooker only last week with regard to snooker getting more TV viewers. Yet two nights ago 11.8m UK viewers watched Murray's 4th round match at Wimbledon. When was the last time our sport had nearly 12m watching a last 16 match?

And how do you know snooker is more popular in Britain for 50 weeks of the year? Maybe you could ask at one of the 2700+ tennis clubs in the UK to see what they think? Stupid statements like that just make us all look stupid.

You'll find that Sky and Eurosport show far more tennis throughout the year than snooker. They wouldn't show these sports if there wasn't an audience for them. After all, Sky used to cover ranking events, but now only show the Premier League.

Anonymous said...

It may be that World Snooker are mixing the 6 reds and 15 reds for a season to moniter the interest/entries etc, it seems sensible to try it out first rather than throwing ranking points at it in its first year. If the feedback is positive they may, if conditions are right, allocate ranking points and ditch the 6 reds. Lets give it a chance and stop knocking it.

Dave H said...

That's not comparing like with like, though.

Murray's match was shown in primetime on BBC1 - BBC1 having cleared their entire schedule to show it.

Anonymous said...

comparing sports is futile, people usualy only do it to have a dig at another sport or body, it helps to make their point seem credible.

Anonymous said...

Your right Dave, it's not comparing like with like - but then, comparing what people watch on a cold Sunday night in January (a snooker 'major'), to who's watching TV on a hot sunny Saturday afternoon in June (lowest ranking ATP event) is not comparing like with like either.

And as for Selby saying that Murray's final at Queen's got less viewers than the World Championships (he did not specify what session or match), that's not comparing like with like either.

Comparing the World Champs to Wimbledon, that's starting to get a more balanced comparison, but I agree 100% with anon @ 1:14pm, it's "futile, people usualy only do it to have a dig at another sport or body, (and) it helps to make their point seem credible."

Dave H said...

I wasn't have a dig at tennis: I love tennis.

It was actually a point about media coverage - not which is the most popular sport.

Anonymous said...

I Love Tennis..

im looking forward to Andy Murray this afternoon.

but Tennis in this country pins theire hope on Andy Murray similar to Snooker is viewed in China with Ding.

consistantly Snooker has higher viewing figures than Tennis however the chances of a brit not winning a snooker tournament is extreamly small therefore it dont get the media wimbledon gets for that reason.

go to china and you will see the similarities surounding murray here with the pressure Ding is under.

Dave H said...

Murray is the USP for the BBC at Wimbledon: most of the country are supporting the same guy, just as they would be supporting the same team in the World Cup. Hence, they clear the BBC1 evening schedule to show his match.

Snooker's problem is that there are too many Brits and not enough players from overseas.

Anonymous said...

DH 1:56pm
I dont recall anyone saying you had a dig at tennis.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 1:14 & 1:36 "Futile"

Anonymous said...

problam is when people are having a go at snooker without facts to back what they say up they do point at other sports to do that.

its a favarate past time of people to bash snooker with other sports.

ive had Darts rammed down my throat constantly and with respect that is nowhere near as popular as snooker is as a spectacle or the afection of people.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Dave, I have to disagree with your post @ 2.10pm

Snooker's problem is that the public are simply fed up with the sport. Murphy Vs Holt simply doesnt get the punters tumescent.

I was at Wembley for this years Masters and there couldn't have been more that 150 in the crowd, and that was with a "2 matches for the price of 1" offer on the tickets.

The days of Jimmy White roping in the crowds are long gone.

Dave H said...

Snoomker's popularity has declined IN THE UK, this is true.

However, there is a whole world out there and through television coverage snooker is currently more popular than it has ever been around the world.

The challenge is to take it out of Britain and get a global circuit running - easier said than done of course.

Anonymous said...

anon 5.20pm

sorry but you are being brain washed by what you read in the press whitch is not acurate by a long chalk.

nothing is as popular as it was in the 80s because TV has changed.

negative coments in the press and on forums are harming the sport so that people arent going to tournaments as they was coupled that with the fact the Wembly Arena has a dead atmosphere where as the conference centre was electrick..

thats why im against moving the world championship from the crucible to a larger venue .if they get the venue wrong the heart of the championship will be riped open.

when they moved the UK From preston that was also a mistake and that tournament suport has been afected.

Anonymous said...

Some good posts lately, some sensible debate rather than personal insults and negativity

CB said...

"ive had Darts rammed down my throat constantly and with respect that is nowhere near as popular as snooker is as a spectacle or the afection of people."

It doesn't matter which is the most popular. Darts went through a split in the 90's that should have killed it yet come out stronger. It is a much better organised sport than Snooker is. The Snooker Tour structure is 30 years out of date with just 6/8 events, no smaller Ranking events for lower ranked players to get experience away from Prestatyn Qualifiers and to give the top players regular snooker, a ranking list thats updated just once a year, no events in Mainland Europe and no attempts at making the Chinese events as big as the UK Championship or Grand Prix. There is no other professional sport organised in the way snooker is.

Anonymous said...

Darts has become successful without tobacco sponsorship, whereas, snooker relied on it.

Maybe tobacco has killed the game of snooker (as well as several million smokers).

Darts is a great sport that's thriving and will continue to grow. Snooker is looking at a pot of £3k at Pontins with yet more tournaments being cancelled.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Dave, what's with the comment mods?

How can you expect us to have a discussion when there's a delay?

Ban the suspect IP addresses (we know it's JONESEYE) and let us get on with it.

The mod comments are a PITA and I'd rather you pulled the comments all together rather than punters endure this!

Anonymous said...

It is almost impossible to have like for like comparisons in sport, football, tennis, rugby, snooker, golf and darts thankfully all have a different fan base, people who put big money into golf or motor sports for example wouldn't get involved with darts or snooker the demographics don't fit and it wouldn't suit their image, this is well known in the market place.

Having a go at any sports association from afar without the full facts is easy, it amazes me that so many people think that they have the answers. Snooker is a great sport and has a good TV audience but that doesn't mean its commercially attractive in the market place. its obvious sponsors are not lining up waiting for a piece of the snooker action, if they were all the tournaments would be sponsored.

Snooker has over the years tried many different approaches to attract sponsorship with many sporting agencies and auntraprunurial individuals (so I'm told, I have no reason to doubt it) with varying degrees of success, I don't think there is someone out there with a magic wand, but that doesn't mean snooker should stop trying.

Anonymous said...

Darts is not better organised .

sorry but any sport that can boast 2 world champions is a bit shambolic.

theres 1 World how can there be 2 Champions of that World?

Anonymous said...

10:44pm where have you been the last 15 years, the pdc broke away from the bdo and took all the best player's with it. There is 2 world champion's yes but everyone know's who the real one is, it's Phil the Power Taylor 14 times champion of the world. Martyn Adams the bdo world champion will not play Taylor, even if it was a charity event. Maybe snooker need's to do a breakaway from the wsa, it surely can't get any worse than it is at the moment, even if we do end up with 2 world champions.

Anonymous said...

Darts seem to be talked about more on this blog than snooker, is it taking over the blog? Stop compering please its played out, the posts that said compering sports is "futile" i.e.(waste of time) seems to have been ignored. Mmmm ....I wonder why.