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.


Mignon said...

Yes, great news. Are we also talking money here?...

Anonymous said...

Dave, just on another topic, I've not been following it but there didn't seem to be any wildcards at the Masters this year? Was there a reason for that?

Matt said...

Who will broadcast the world open then?. Glad BBC has got the new contract with the three main tournaments. Masters,UK and the World at least they've got those. Although maybe ITV might want to do a snooker tournament on ITV4 don't forget they've had the Grand Slam Of Darts on ITV4 since 2007.

jamie brannon said...

This is postive news, tempered by the loss of the World Open. However, when the swictover is complete by 2012, then everyone will have access by the red button to the Welsh Open, so it will feel like four events.

I think Dave is right about hard to predict in this event as the outsiders are only underdogs notionally in most cases. Still, fancy Ding to go all the way now, but not sure I am allowed to tip again outright when your original tip has departed!

Anonymous said...

Great that we will have at least 3 BBC tournaments until 2014. They've lost loads of sports to date so this is one of the few left to them.
On a separate note, does anyone know what Dennis Taylor was referring to this afternoon when he said a player in the qualifiers had been found to be applying a substance to the cue ball to enable him to screw back better? Is that why the £250 penalty has been introduced for any player touching the balls? I thought this was strange at the time. Ball tampering in snooker!!!!! What next?

Dave H said...

The wildcards were scrapped because of the change in the rankings, although had someone outsiode the top 16 won the UK Championship then they would have been in

The World Open will be staged outside the UK in China, the Middle east or possibly even Australia, depending on what the best deal is

Anonymous said...

so, who was the player ????

Anonymous said...

Come on ITV, us Freeview viewers need you! Three tournaments a year isn't enough!

Finn said...

Is the 3 year extension the normal length? I seem to remember extensions being for longer periods in the past, although Im probably wrong. Good news all the same

Anonymous said...

in the current climate of cut backs 3 years is like 10 years.

Anonymous said...

It's great that the BBC is keeping the top three events, but it is still as shame they have dropped the world open... As people say three events a year is not enough, granted we have Eurosport for some others.
I like the studio coverage on the BBC though, it makes a more complete enjoyable programme.

Has it been decided who will be showing the World open?
Also what about the China open?