Barry Hearn has secured BGC Partners, a major money brokerage firm, as the new sponsor for the Masters, which gets underway at Alexandra Palace in London on Sunday.
Hearn was visibly buzzing when he imparted this news to the players at the Championship League at Crondon Park this week after doing the deal himself.
A company from the financial sector backing a major tournament in the UK marks a move away from recent reliance on the betting industry, which has been the main source of sponsorship income for the sport in recent times.
The bookies’ money is as welcome as anyone’s, not least because it is a vote of confidence in the integrity of snooker after several high profile match fix stories.
But by branching out into a different sector, it will hopefully prove snooker can appeal to a far wider range of industries.
Hearn and his team seem to have no problem obtaining sponsors. The challenge is to keep them beyond their initial year.
Hopefully BGC will see the benefits of their association with one of snooker’s oldest and most prestigious events.
It’s a new sponsor, new home and new start for the Masters...let’s hope the players put on a show worthy of snooker’s new era.