Betfred’s sponsorship of the World Championship has ended with the 2012 tournament, the last of their original four-year deal.

It is believed to be an amicable parting of the ways. World Snooker thinks the sponsorship is worth much more than Betfred paid due to the increase in global TV rights.

However, Betfred’s business is primarily British-based, so the worth of this additional exposure in markets in the Far East and beyond is questionable to them.

Betfred were terrifically enthusiastic sponsors for the game’s leading event. It was a good deal for them and the sport.

However, professional snooker is a business and it is down to World Snooker’s commercial team to get the best deal they can.

Barry Hearn is considering a sealed bids process for companies interested in sponsoring the World Championship.

It remains a huge sporting event. It carries 17 days live BBC television coverage in the UK, goes to 59 countries on Eurosport, is broadcast live on Chinese TV and in other territories.

I understand World Snooker is seeking a non-bookmaking sponsor for the championship. There is some concern that the game is putting its eggs in the same basket, as it largely did with tobacco sponsorship.

But sponsors are hard to come by in the current economic climate. Hearn did secure BGC, a finance firm, for last season’s Masters but there is no news on whether they have renewed.

If bookmakers want to give the sport money then they should be welcomed. Betfair’s support of the Shootout is encouraging. There are other sponsorship deals to be announced after the Olympics.

What do sponsors want?

Exposure, certainly, but also a positive association with their brand.

They also want a sprinkle of stardust and reflected glory. The harsh truth is that most CEOs would rather be teeing off in a pro-am with Tiger Woods or posing for pictures with Rafael Nadal than hanging out with snooker players.

But the World Championship is different. It is the one tournament followed by those who take little interest in snooker throughout the year.

The much vaunted 18.5m BBC2 figure for the conclusion of the 1985 final – endlessly trotted out by parochial Brits, usually as a weapon with which to attack the modern game – has long since been dwarfed by the worldwide viewing figures.

So this sponsorship is an opportunity for a global brand to associate itself with a much loved sporting event which lasts 17 days, plus all the qualifying and build-up.

They will have to pay the right price for it but it will be worth it for them and, hopefully, for the sport too.


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you-know-who hasn't renamed it:

The Barry Hearn World Championship.


Anonymous said...

Dave would a better sponsor result in a greter prize fund for everyone involved.maybe a global brand is what snooker needs and one not associated with gambling. Im sick of these scandals and our game doesnt need them because its a beatiful sport at least that what a friend said who wouldnt follow every tournament

Dave H said...

As far as I know the current deal didn't cover the whole prize fund, although BBC money would have done.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope its not "Pukka Pies" or some other company with a ridiculous name....

I have often wondered why the table manufacturers don't sponsor the event?

Anonymous said...

im surprised a company from the mobile industry hasnt sponsored it, or another very big uk event

Anonymous said...

If Pukka pies put the money in i really don't see a problem.
Think young Judd would like Ann Summers to be the sponser, plenty of naughtiness !!!

Anonymous said...

Pukka Pies would be great, especially as prize money comes with pies. But maybe not such a great idea for Stephen Lee:)

Anonymous said...

on a different note I watched Steve Davis win 5-0 with his new cue at yesterdays qualifiers at Sheffield, by the livesnooker web service

Can I say what a good service this is - technically no problems streaming it whatsoever unlike some other web services. Login takes seconds unlike some other services.

Neal Foulds provided an excellent commentary, there were 3 cameras and graphics

I suggest you try it

Anonymous said...

Were is the rocket???????????

Please come back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So Jogia is going to tell his stories!!

I hope he has some dirt on John Higgins!!!
The last straw to end his playing days!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

the rocket is away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

please dont come back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

nobody cares about jogonia!!!!!!!

i know he wont have truthful "stories"!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

So according to the PTC calendar, Scotland is part of Europe but not part of the UK. Does Alex Salmond know World Snooker has a set a referendum on Scotland?

Mr. A. Kashyap said...

That's a sad scene in the world of snooker. Where I stay in India, there are mostly just snooker points, with a maximum of 3 tables.. Yeah, people can practice, but if tournaments were organized every now and then, it would be nice.

Snooker is such a wonderful sport, I don't think anyone would hate it if properly approached.

I have created a blog on snooker at