Hearn announced several new major events as well as increased prize money
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn was at the Crucible today to announce plans for the professional tour for the coming years.
Hearn took control of snooker in 2010 when total prize money for the tour was £3.5 million, with just eight events on the circuit. Now the prize money has grown to £8 million, with nearly 30 events. The key points of the new five-year plan are:
• All events other than the World Championship will be a flat 128 draw when existing contracts expire. The World Championship will be unchanged with regard to format, seeding and qualifying competition
• Prize money for the World Championship will be increased to £2 million, with £500,000 to the winner, from the 2017/18 season onwards at the latest.
• World Snooker Tour prize money will increase to £8.5 million for the 2015/16 season and £10 million for the 2016/17 season.
• The ‘Home Series’ will be launched during the 2016/17 season to include:
The Welsh Open from Cardiff
The Scottish Open from Glasgow
The Irish Open from Belfast
The English Open from Manchester
• In addition a new major ranking event – The European Open – will be staged during the 2016/17 season.
• The World Grand Prix will be a ranking event from the 2015/16 season, with the top 32 players from a prize money ranking list starting from the commencement of this season.
• The Players Championship will follow the World Grand Prix in 2016/17, with the top 16 players invited from a prize money list from the commencement of the season.
• Over the next five years, Q Schools for membership to the tour will be instigated in Asia, the Americas, Africa, Australasia and Europe.
• Negotiations will begin shortly with Sheffield City Council and the BBC with a view to extending current agreements.