Professional snooker embarks on the kind of round the world trip this month that would make Michael Palin look like a stay-at-home.

It starts in Wuxi City in China on Thursday, heads to Bangkok in Thailand and finishes in Bendigo, Australia.

That’s 18 days of continuous snooker and it’s only July.

Some players are competing in all three events. If Ding Junhui, Mark Selby, Ali Carter, Stephen Maguire, Matthew Stevens or Liang Wenbo win the Wuxi Classic, World Cup and Australian Goldfields Open they will come back home enriched by over £100,000, all this at a time when snooker players are normally out on the fairways or taking family holidays.

All 18 days of action will be broadcast by Eurosport.

There’s no reason why snooker shouldn’t be a year-round sport or as good as, just as golf and tennis are.

Most people reading this who are in employment (in the UK anyway) will get no more than six weeks holiday a year. Professional snooker is just that: a profession. I suppose if you don’t need the money then taking four or five months off from work is fair enough but that only applies to a tiny minority of snooker players.

And players are not going to be at the top forever, so they should make hay while the sun shines and support as many new events as they can because one day they will find they’ve been replaced.

Look at Stephen Hendry: he skippered the Scottish dream team to glory in the last World Cup in 1996 but such is the strength of Scottish snooker – due in no small part to the inspiration he provided so many juniors – that he is ranked fourth now for his country and too low in the world rankings to get in the Wuxi Classic.

Perhaps the best thing about this July snooker bonanza, apart from its global reach, is the mix it offers: an invitation tournament, a revived team event and then a world ranking event.

Each tournament thus has its own identity and, in the case of the World Cup, we will see on our screens players who, to most of us, are completely new.

I suppose some people, if they were looking for negatives, would argue that you can have too much of a good thing, but I know Eurosport’s figures tend to rise when they show tournaments consecutively, possibly because viewing becomes habitual.

It’s the same with tennis and cycling and it’s basic economics: supply and demand. People want to watch something so they are given many hours of it to watch.

And there will be many hours coming your way in this super July for snooker.

Enjoy it!


Anonymous said...

18 days continues Snooker must be a record the World is only 17 days.

not only that but 18 days on TV.

Anonymous said...

Not my way. I can't get Eurosport on Freeview.

Anonymous said...

its sunny i sont wanna stayin in julie and watch snookar

kildare cueman said...

I think there might have been overkill in the 80s within Britain. All the rankers, a few invitational events and snooker based gameshows and chatshows, were shown on terrestrial TV.

Its different now though. With the game going global, the host country will hopefully provide the coverage, with Eurosport picking it up.

Unlike the 80s, the game is not as "in your face" these days. The bulk of BBC coverage is on interactive, and Eurosport for me anyway, is looked on as a cuesports channel.
Its nice for fans to be able to see everything, but its good for casual viewers to see the world and masters etc. on terrestrial TV, to keep a bit of interest in Britain and Ireland.

Janie Watkins said...

if you can't get Eurosport you can watch online - I think it's about £4 a month - but with 18 days continuous coverage £4 is a bargain.


Hi David. This puts me in mind of something that Clive Everton once said. He said " I think, anything which spreads the internationalism of snooker, is good for the game." I am in firm agreement with this.

More public interest from a wider world audieance. Bring it on.

Anonymous said...

its sunny i sont wanna stayin in julie and watch snookar.

thats your choice.

but isn't it great to have that choice ?

Dave H said...

Kildare Cueman - I think that is correct. In the 1980s the game was over saturated because there were only four channels and it was hard to get away from snooker. Indeed, when Michael Grade took over at Channel 4 he said he wanted to create a 'channel for people who hated snooker.'

Now there are hundreds of channels, snooker is there for those who want it on dedicated sports channels. It's very easy to avoid if you don't like it.

Anonymous said...

i want to watch while its windy and peein down. not while coolin outside

Anonymous said...

watch while its peeing down then or not if its sunny. as a brit i now rain not far off any day.

Anonymous said...

Great news Dave and a big up to Eurosport.

By the way,is Hearn still in America? Or is it the case he rules by dictat, end of story?

jamie brannon said...

Dave, do you not feel there should be any off-season then?

I think a six-week window should be maintained just like the tennis.

Have to say, I love football but do welcome the off-season as it helps to recharge the batteries and you saviour the start of the season more.

jamie brannon said...

To avoid overkill you need a good variety to the schedule and Barry Hearn has managed to implement this.

Matt said...

I think that some sort of off-season is essential, certainly to build up the anticipation ahead of the new season. I'd also say that the tennis calendar is absurd, it is good to see that their season will be shortened by two weeks in 2012, long overdue.

But that's a different matter to snooker, the tennis calendar is still busier than the snooker one despite the massive progress made.

In snooker this season they have probably got it just about right I'd say. I think that it worked quite well to give the professionals a break after the Crucible, but fill that time with the Q School.

Certainly gave the feel that the snooker never stopped, whilst giving those at the top some sort of break.

jamie brannon said...

Just want to clarify that I am not criticising the schedule, but just advocating a brief off-season.

In fact, there is still not enough events, particularly major ones. After the Shanghai Masters in September, there doesn't seem to be a major ranking event until the UK Championship.

jamie brannon said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the Kildare Cueman, but there is not much getting away from football and it doesn't seem to be doing too badly for itself!!

Anonymous said...

1.06, record it and watch it when it rains.

Betty Logan said...

Apart from a single PTC event which you can easily afford to miss, the players have had a couple of months off.

I think the snooker coverage is pretty well balanced now; there are only three terrestrial events, and you can get Eurosport if you want to watch more.

Betty Logan said...

Does the anon realise that the Aus Open will be kicking off in the early hours of the morning? Only burglars are out at that time.

Anonymous said...

1.06, record it and watch it when it rains.

7:39 PM



it wasnt 106 who didnt want to watch due to the sunshine

kildare cueman said...

Jamie at 6.45,
I agree the scheduling is a bit unbalanced. It would of course be better if there was 1 ranker, 1 invitational and one or two PTC's in July, August and September.

I think this is down to the transitional period, and its probably July or not at all with the forthcoming trio of events.

I can see the day though, when the game has truly globalised, and the world economy has had an upturn, when the calendar will be full and new events will have to run concurrently with each other or pay more money to have their own slot. In this scenario players will be able to choose which events they want to play in, choose their own off season, and way up the balance of whether they should play a PTC or risk the airfare to foreign climes to play for bigger bucks.

The tour, would support more players by then and it might be worth a players while to play a smaller event which would keep him in the top 128 say, guaranteeing him a living wage.

Perhaps I'm deluded but when Davis won the world title in 81, John McEnroe trousered the same first prize, £20,000 for winning Wimbledon, and golf wasn't too far ahead then either.
Snooker, as we know, has been mis managed consistently by buffoons since then, while tennis and golf have been marketed superbly.

I dont expect our game to catch either of those sports, but if we even reach a fraction of their growth percentage, the above scenario can, and should be achieved.

Anonymous said...

The World Open was supposed to be taking place in between Shanghai and the UK, but no-one knows what's happening to it, not even World Snooker themselves

NewsBrain said...

Well I say stuff Eurosport. I hardly ever pay for sport specifically, it angers me. Might be forced to with this as I would not mind seeing the world cup. Hearn's biggest problem remains Sky/ESPN. Their attitude to snooker is weird. Lat time I looked, snooker hammers tennis and cricket, save the Ashes and Wimbledon. Yet Sky show a ton of tennis and only the shoot out. ESPN nada. Snooker should be sport channel fodder. Its cheap, will get watched and does not cost a lot. More glamour when it's on a big channel. Eurosport is fine but it remains sport's dustbin channel. Although, I obviously want to see more on freeview, that's never happening. For the health of the game, we need Sky. It's so cheap, they might even show it free!

Betty Logan said...

According to the calender there is a ranking event at the end of October. No sign of qualifiers for it though, or whether it is the World Open or not.

Anonymous said...

12.05, Sky sports is expensive if youre only interested in snooker but Eurosport is cheap.

Anonymous said...

Does the anon realise that the Aus Open will be kicking off in the early hours of the morning? Only burglars are out at that time.

8:01 PM

dont you realise that that only is fair comment from their early morning.

when its their night time ill be out sunning my white bits.

jamie brannon said...

Matt - I totally agree about an off-season to build up anticipation.

Yes, we can not watch but out of habit many do and you still enjoy it to a certain extent but it starts to feel less special.

Anonymous said...

8.01 Sky sports is expensive if you're only interested in snooker, but Eurosport is cheap.


What do you mean by cheap?
Cheap enough for an OAP?

Claus said...

Conclusion: long live Eurosport's snooker coverage and thanks Dave, I will enjoy it!

Did Ronnie get invited to Wuxi and declined or have they never bothered asking him as he prefers not going anywhere?

Dave H said...

I believe players are invited according to world ranking so it would be fair to deduce some players declined the invitation

jamie brannon said...

I think if we get to the point where we have a 44-week-a-year calendar with two month off-season for everyone to re-charge their batteries then that would be ideal.

They could still play the Q-school in the two-month break.

Still would be interested in what Dave and others think about the off-season. I am not trying to be contrary for the sake of it.

The other issue is where you would place the off-season. Should the calendar run more in unison with the calendar year?

The summer months seem best suited to the break, though, as it a time when outdoor pursuits are more popular. Also, if the heat is strong then fans are less likely to go and watch snooker.

I'm hoping we can get to a position of around 17-18 major ranking events, supported by a variety of invitation events.

Anonymous said...

jamie, you asked for feedback

no stop, no matter how short or long would wet my whistle so that i was as eager as a kid to have it back on screen.

id be happy for it to roll on continuosly but would like to have a couple of lesser pointed rankers in the summer uk time

Betty Logan said...

The off-season should come after the world championship. You've got to set May aside for the Q school anyway. I mean, when else would you logically have it?

Anonymous said...

you could have Q school DURING the worlds.....