Do you remember the days when nothing used to happen for about four months after the World Championship finished?

Snooker is now clearly moving towards becoming a year round sport and activity on and off the table in the wake of the great Crucible marathon has been pretty much continuous.

The latest is that World Snooker has issued entry packs for the first four events of the Players Tour Championship, which will be played along the same lines as last season.

Once again it’s £100 to enter, £10,000 to the winner of each with 2,000 ranking points also going to the title winners.

However, prize money for the grand finals next March has increased by £50,000, with the eventual winner now receiving £70,000.

Four of the British PTCs will be played at the Academy in Sheffield and the other two at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

In the entry pack, World Snooker state that the first EPTC in Germany in August will be broadcast by Eurosport. In fact, the plan is for all six EPTCs to be televised, which would be a great boost for snooker fans.

I’m told there have been ‘discussions’ over possible streaming for the British PTCs, but such a deal would have to make business sense.

The EPTCs, particularly with TV coverage, have the potential to grow into bigger events.

The British PTCs were not to every player’s taste, especially playing in the sterile cubicles in Sheffield with no room for spectators, but it’s the chance to win £10k in three days, it's invaluable match practice and it’s a way of gaining some confidence and momentum.

It’s better than being sat at home moaning that there aren’t any tournaments.

Anyone can enter the PTCs and now amateurs will be able to join the professional circuit in 2012/13 directly from the order of merit as the top eight, regardless of pro or amateur status, will earn promotion.

Of course, expenses mount up and it’s more time away from home but Barry Hearn is being true to his word and vision: the opportunity is there, whether players seize it is up to them.

The first PTC tournament of the new season takes place next month.

It marks the start of what looks certain to be one of the busiest campaigns professional snooker has ever seen.

More details of how to enter the PTCs can be found here.


Sparky said...

Most of us thought that Barry would drop the "must-play-at-least-3-PTC-and-3-EPTC" criteria for this season, but, having read the entry form, it's STILL the case!

kildare cueman said...

Fantastic news. It seems as if a month scarcely passes these days without a further "good news" announcement from WS.

Televised EPTC's will surely attract sponsorship, and one could envisage significant increases in prizemoney and stature for these events in the years ahead.

It is a pity that the sheffield events are untelevised and closed to spectators. Maybe there should be a reduction of say, 20 per cent in prizemoney and points for these events and a similar increase in the televised EPTCs.

This would have the effect of giving some of these events more of an identity, and give the busier pros the opportunity to miss a few of the lesser events without being penalised too much.

New or struggling pros could play in everything and be busy all year round.

It will be interesting to see if the televised events feature more top players in the latter stages than the Sheffield ones.

The World Open was expected to be a bloodbath for seeds but ultimately featured most of the big boys from the last 16 onwards.

Nevertheless its still a great chance for rookies and journeymen to gain valuable TV exposure.

Betty Logan said...

Dave, can amateurs still enter the World Open? It's just that there was loads of buzz about it last year and I haven't heard anything this year. Nothing about amateur entry on the WSA site.

Dave H said...

Short answer: I don't know.

You'll notice it has disappeared from the new calendar issued today. This is because the slot for it hasn't been nailed down yet. It'll either be on in October or April, depending on where in the world it is played.

As it will be held outside the UK it may not be felt worthwhile for amateurs to enter given the expense should they qualify.

Anonymous said...

The PTC events have been tremendous, and I'm glad that the EPTCs will be televised.

Your right David, the players don't have anything to moan about anymore, as there are plenty of opportunities to play and make some money as well.

jamie brannon said...

I am all for this varied and busy schedule but hope we maintain some type of off-season.

This is important as some sports are guilty of this, particularly golf and cricket.

Just a six-week window like the tennis season would be sufficient.

I know people will bang on we shouldn't moan about this issue because of before we had nothing, almost.

However, still think it is good to have a little wait, so we can relect and anticipate.

Anonymous said...

some do moan though that it costs so much to get there and play and if they dont go their ranking suffers.

but thats life on a professional circuit of any sport until you make it big its a commitment they have to make to reach the top.

likahokeith said...

Dave, I think both of October and April have new ranking events because Seeding cut-off have been set.

jamie brannon said...

Judging from what O'Sullivan has been saying on Twitter he may be planning a busy year for himself.

He is back in love with game, and also went on a rant about negative players without naming them!

Was also liking your tweet on dismissing 3/4 place play-offs. Would never have them in any sport but then thought about the Olympics - how would you settle bronze medals, which are quite important in events such as hockey. Guess you could give both beaten semi-finalists a bronze, which is what they do in the boxing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with kildare that televised events should carry more ranking points along with the added pressure and prestige the cameras deliver. The anonymous PTCs should then aspire to gain similar exposure.

Playing in a room with no spectators or tv cameras is not worth 2,000 points.

Betty Logan said...

I'd prefer it if the ranking points were correllated with the overall prize fund. The world champs is worth £1m, so leave the top tariff at 10,000 points; UK and World Open are worth about 500k, so set them at 5000 points; the 300k Chinese events 3000 points, the 200k Welsh/German 2000 points, and the 50k PTC at 500 points. Ultimately the prize fund determines how important an event is and the points should roughly reflect that. Each round should be a fixed percentage of the next one i.e. runner-up gets 75% of the winner points, semifinalists get 75% of the runner-up points and so on. Money is the ultimately judge of how important an event is: if an event came along that offered a £1 million top prize, I doubt there is a player on the circuit that would choose the world title over it.

Anonymous said...

i know there is at least one player who would choose the wc Mr Betty

likahokeith said...

Anyway, let's take a look at the tournments in season 2011/12:

1.PTC 1-12 + Finals

2.New event in Australia(90% sure)

3.Wuxi Classic

4.Snooker World Cup

5.BTV Event

6.Shanghai Masters

7.October Ranking Events(50% in India)

7.Premier League

8.Brazilian Masters

9.World Seniors Championship

10.UK Championship

11.German Masters

12.Championship League

13.The Masters

14.Sky Shoot Out

15.Welsh Open

16.China Open

17.April Ranking Events(Unsure)

18.Betfred.com World Championship

19.Q School

kildare cueman said...

Not a bad suggestion Betty, but prizemoney doesn't necessarily reflect a tournaments importance.

Its certainly a major factor, but under your suggestion, the winner of the world open would receive the same points as someone who won both the welsh and chinese events.

This system could work, but only if there was some kind of limit ratio set, i.e. the total prizemoney for the worst paid tournament must be equal or greater to say, 60 percent of the highest.

The WC and PTCs could be exempt from this rule as they are entirely different types of tournament regarding importance or pressure.

Without BBC coverage, is the world open going to be any harder to win than the welsh?

Betty Logan said...

I don't imagine BBC cameras are any more intimidating than say Chinese cameras, but if it isn't televised then the prize fund will be substantially smaller anyway. I'm not sure it matters if one tournament is harder than another; by going pro your primary goal is to earn money, assigning importance based on traditions is a hangover from the amateur game, or an idealism that viewers indulge in. The guy who makes the most money at the end of the season has been the most successful professional, so it's just my view the rankings should reflect that. Put aside the sentimentality and focus on the core objective—as you all kept saying in the Q school discussion, pro snooker is a business.

jamie brannon said...

Dave, you won't want to read the Sporting Life today, as O'Sullivan's amusing comments have made it in!

It doesn't surprise me to be honest, Twitter is now taken very seriously by all media outlets.

Don't agree with everything he said but at least he is prepared to tell it straight and like he said not be painfully PC.

jamie brannon said...

Does anyone know when the venues will be announced for the Premier League?

Hope they come to the Midlands this time.

I imagine all of this will be shown primarily by EuroSport, but hoping that we might see an event on ITV, Five or Channel 4.

Dave H said...

There will be a Premier League night in Solihull on October 6th

Betty Logan said...

Twitter was made for Ronnie!

So who should Ron have in his tournament? I think his great rivals Hendry, Higgins and Williams; Judd, Cope, Allen and Wenbo are the recent flair players to emerge; Ding, Murphy, Carter and Robertson have strong attacking games; Jimmy and Drago from the older end; Martin Gould even though he slips under the radar a lot, but everyone who knows snooker would agree he has to be in there; and to complete the 16 man line-up I'm going for Stephen Lee, he can go negative but he's such a fantastic potter he should make the cut, and Ronnie owes him one after what he said in his biography. It could be billed as a "best of the best" style event. In the event that Ronnie drops out because it's in China, I would replace him with Matthew Stevens.

Anonymous said...

I think he'd have Maguire in there. He plays the attacking game and is faster and positionally better than Robertson.

kildare cueman said...

Anyone hear about the fiasco in Irish amateur snooker?

One of the finalists of the Seniors masters, Jason Watson, wasn't able to make it on the day.

The governing body, RIBSA, were unwilling to change the date, so in their wisdom, instead of awarding the title to the other finalist, Frank Sarsfields, decided to replay the other half of the tournament as if Watson had never entered.

In effect, all the players that had been beaten by Watson are now back in the tournament.

Shurely Shome mishtake.

Anonymous said...

dont care about irish plodders...

betsy, i think hed invite luca brecel

i think most of ronnies comments were idiotic, but thats to be expected

kildare cueman said...

O'Sullivans suggestion is not entirely unique.

Back in the eighties, a four man tournament was held in Ireland. It was televised and in its first year featured the most exciting players in the top 16, namely Higgins, White, Kirk Stevens and Tony Knowles.

It was a success as far as I can remember. It brought in a lot of casual fans.

I was just wondering if this was thinking out loud by O'Sullivan on Twitter or has he had somebody, maybe at a legends event or a former 110 director bending his ear about a potentially lucrative tournament in China to be screened on pay per view online.

8 Chinese players and 8 attacking crowd pullers. Could be a nice little earner for someone.

Anonymous said...

Betsy, the guy who makes the most money is not necessarily the most successful.

If the sky shootout paid ten grand more than the world championship which would they choose?

Jimmy White won the world masters, which at the time paid more than the world championship. Yet he rates the UK as his best win.

Successful players will end up wealthy anyway from off the table earnings. Its trophies theyre after, not cash.

And yes, the BBC cameras ARE more intimidating than the Chinese cameras. Just look at the Chinese finalists over the years. Its littered with journeymen and bottlers.

Betty Logan said...

I think money will always be the common denominator though. I think 90% of players would take the 250k world title over a 300k top prize in another event, but I think 90% of players would opt for a 500k prize.

As for the "exciting" players tournament, hasn't this been the philosophy behind the Premier League in recent years? And to be fair, that hasn't really set the world alight. I think such a format sounds great in principle, but I suspect I'd be left pining for Ken Doherty at the end of the week. The tension and suspense seems to come from the stresses a player applies to his opponent's game, and the shotclock and flamboyant selection has diffused that effect to some extent.

Dave H said...

Actually the fascination in many sports, including snooker, comes from a clash of styles, not everyone playing exactly the same way: the recent world final being an example.

Anonymous said...

actually, the nature of snooker means that in some cases the balls just go smelly, no matter what and unless you are trying to gift your opponent the frame then safety to get openings is a must.

sometimes, as in the pl, matches of first to 5, or less means that many of the frames played arent attacking.

also a shot cloch wont mean every shot is a pot. an excellent negative player could still play lots and lots of safety shots, within time.

jamie brannon said...

I agree Dave that you do need a clash of styles from time to time, but it can just be as exciting to see two players clashing with a similar exciting style.

O'Sullivan v Trump is positvely mouthwatering when it arrives. While matches between Arsenal and Barcelona, who both play the attractive passing game are a football spectacle of the highest order.

The only matches in sport that can be on the dull side are when two negative teams or players face-off. Although still have a perverse fascination to see Rory McLeod against Peter Ebdon in grind mode. It would be an ultimate test of attrition.

jamie brannon said...

There is an argument that too many snooker players play the same way.

When new young players are coming through you rarely hear them referred too as anything other than attacking players.

jamie brannon said...

Had a look for the full calendar for Premier League with venues but couldn't find it anywhere.

I trust you Dave!

It is a place I can get back to in one night I think. Although not totally sure about last bus and train.

They do go to some leftfield places on this roadshow. It is good thing to do but Birmingham would be easier!

jamie brannon said...

If possible it would be good to know when they make the venues public and the date for tickets going on sale.

I guess it would be in the next few weeks.

Not expecting you to blog about but a tweet annoucing it would be good, as worried might miss out otherwise.

Dave H said...

The Premier League dates and venues will be in the June issue of Snooker Scene