Players throughout the World Snooker Tour are earning more prize money than ever before as the sport continues to grow worldwide.
During the 2017/18 season a record £13.7 million was paid out. Those at the top are earning vast sums, with four players earning over £500,000 for the first time: Mark Williams (£898,776), Ronnie O’Sullivan (£888,000), John Higgins (£612,372) and Mark Selby (£565,085).
Overall the top 16 earned £7.30m, a 29% increase on the previous season. Those ranked 17-32 earned £2.27m (42% increase), those ranked 33-64 earned £2.27m (46% increase) and those ranked outside of the top 64 earned £1.46m (45% increase).
These figures reflect that fact that snooker’s commercial success has benefited all players, and that prize money increases have been spread out across the tour. In addition, entry fees for players to enter tournaments were abolished in 2017, reducing expenses significantly for all players.
Craig Steadman is currently in 64th place on the 2018-19 season one-year list, having earned £16,500 so far from eight of the season’s 20 ranking events.
“I think a lot of players would agree with me if I say there has never been a better time to be a player,” said Steadman. “As far as I’m concerned the more tournaments the better.
“Last week I lost 6-5 in the first round of the UK Championship and I don’t want to be sitting at home licking my wounds, I’d rather be looking forward to the next tournament, which is in Scotland next week. Ten years ago there were only six tournaments and if you lost a qualifier you’d have nothing for two months.
“The other advantage of having so many events is that it improves you as a player, which is what we all want. When I started playing snooker as a kid I wanted to play every day and I still do.
“Some players might want to be paid a fortune just for turning up, but that’s not reality. It’s tough when you lose, but there are plenty of opportunities to win matches and earn prize money.”