The BBC will screen snooker’s three biggest tournaments for the next three years as part of a new broadcast deal announced today.
The World Championship, UK Championship and Masters will continue on the BBC until at least 2014.
They have therefore dropped their fourth event, although those with long memories will recall they used to show five events, the World Team Cup as well as the Grand Prix.
The Welsh Open will still be screened by BBC Wales.
The BBC is having to make cuts and is also changing the nature of programming on BBC2 so it is good news they are sticking with snooker at all.
Terrestrial television is still the service most people receive. Many can’t get or afford satellite TV.
If snooker disappeared completely off terrestrial television then it would be further marginalised.
And snooker has much to thank the BBC for. It started showing action in the black and white days and when it launched the colour service at the end of the 1960s, Pot Black brought the game into living rooms the length and breadth of the UK, making household names of the players of the day.
Its popularity and the emergence of Alex Higgins persuaded producers to broadcast highlights of the World Championship in the 1970s before, in 1978, the decision was taken to undertake live daily coverage, which the BBC has done ever since.
Now, every ball is available somewhere on the digital platform and on the BBC website.
Snooker no longer delivers huge figures but it does well for the BBC and, in turn, their continued support of the sport is to be welcomed.
Many British people seem to think of snooker only in terms of the UK. In fact, there is more snooker on worldwide television now than there has ever been.
Eurosport broadcast all the major events across the continent, Chinese TV show much of them live and other territories take highlights.
Sky are dipping their toes in the water again and ITV4 broadcast the recent Power Snooker event, which hopefully hasn’t put them off the proper version of the game.
But the BBC and their financial support for snooker remains the key contract World Snooker holds and the game’s future is rosier for it having been renegotiated.