A few weeks ago here at PSB I launched the first ‘snooker survey’ here at this blog, in an attempt to get some feedback from snooker fans across the world as to how they follow the sport.
Thanks to everyone who took part and today I take my first look at some of the results, including general questions, following snooker and social media…
We begin with the ‘general’ questions, as I looked to gain some insight into both the people who read this site and indeed follow snooker in general.
Firstly I asked how long participants had followed professional snooker for and clearly on top with 59.3% of the vote was 10+ years, with only 12.3% of people being relatively new to the sport.
Perhaps as is to be expected on a blog such as mine which is more aimed at the snooker enthusiast, rather than casual sports fans, the vast majority of readers answered that they were serious snooker fans, with over 90% of the total vote indicating they they follow the sport quite closely.
Interestingly however, the picture is very different in terms of participation, with almost an equal split across the four answers that I put up for selection. As someone who follows the sport almost religiously on television, but only plays once a year or so, this is something that I can understand and is clearly a trait shared by others.
One factor highlighted by a few in their answers was that they have found it harder to play snooker in recent years given the closure of a number of snooker clubs within the UK, while overseas there are still relatively few clubs in certain countries.
While the playing question proved divisive, it was a different story in terms of watching the game, with an impressive 83.1% of those surveyed answering that they are regular watchers.
Barry Hearn has in the past spoken of snooker ‘traditionalists’, those of us who prefer the longer formats and snooker traditions, rather than moves such as short formats and shot clocks, not in keeping with snooker of years gone by.
I was curious to see how my readership here at PSB reflected that those generalisations and it turns out that almost three quarters of you would describe yourselves as traditionalists. But will the other answers reflect that? We shall see…
Next up, I asked readers to choose up to two of my suggested words to describe snooker and there were a mixture of responses on this, with ‘tactical’ and ‘exciting’ ultimately coming out on top. Other popular answers were ‘addictive’ and ‘intriguing’, while perhaps the players out there gravitated towards the ‘difficult’ and ‘challenging’ responses!
In the penultimate question of this first section I enquired as to the style of snooker that readers most enjoy and perhaps it was no surprise to see ‘all of the above’ take in over half of the vote, demonstrating that snooker doesn’t have to be all about big breaks, or entirely tactical.
And to question eight, which for me was one of the most interesting questions of the entire survey as I was really not sure as to which way it would go. While it would not have taken a psychic to have predicted that there weren’t too many people out there who enjoyed scrappy play, this one I could have seen going either way.
I was then pleased to see from a personal point of view that more readers than not disagreed that slow play is a problem in snooker, although it was still a relatively close 60-40 split.
Moving on, I next considered the question of how fans follow snooker in 2015, firstly asking readers to select up to two of the following methods.
Clearly, the response demonstrates the increased importance of the internet and social media, though given that this survey was published online and advertised through social media, maybe that is not too much of a surprise!
Nonetheless, there were very few clicks for magazines/newspapers and none for radio, which I would suggest are more relevant when the major tournaments are in progress.
When it comes to watching the sport, it was television, both terrestrial and subscription based that came out on top. A few readers from overseas raised the point that in some countries, Eurosport is effectively terrestrial, while it is networks that are free to air in the UK that are harder to watch overseas.
In terms of streaming, clearly it is the unofficial streams that come out on top in comparison to the services provided by World Snooker and betting sites, although again it was pointed out that I had omitted to include Eurosport Player, which may account for some of these votes.
Again there may be an element of preaching to the converted in the next question, but when it comes to social media the answer was emphatic, 87.1% of you agreeing that it is now an important way to follow snooker.
Encouragingly, next up I enquired as to whether readers felt that they could access information that they required when it came to snooker and again the result was conclusive. I doubt the the answer would have been the same even five years ago, so things are certainly moving in the right direction.
Grouping the next couple of questions together, I asked whether readers had both been to a live professional event before and whether they planned to visit one during the next 12 months.
Both around the 60% mark, it is positive to see that a good number of fans are able to get to venues, but it would be interesting to know why the others have not made it to see the sport in the flesh.
Moving on to social media in depth and again we see that the vast majority of participants follow snooker and its players using social media, whether that be through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or by other means.
That said, there are still people who do not use social media to follow snooker and it is something of a reminder to me as a blogger not to take it for granted that everyone who reads this website will necessarily also follow me on Twitter.
Another of the more interesting questions for me was as to the traits that people like to see from players online and with one exception, it turns out that most of the factors that I listed are in equal demand, insight leading the way.
The one exception was in terms of the language of players, with only 7.8% seeing that as an important factor, something that was a bit of a surprise to me.
3. My favourite Twitter feeds to follow snooker are:
No pie chart for this one as for technological reasons far too boring to go into, this is not something provided, but the results for this question are:
- @Prosnookerblog – 24.97%
- @WorldSnooker1 – 11.35%
- @markwil147 – 9.21%
- @snookerbacker – 9.21%
- None – 9.08%
- @ronnieo147 – 6.26%
- @magician147 – 3.34%
- @davehendon – 2.94%
- @insidesnooker – 1.47%
- @snookerorg – 1.34%
Beyond the top ten, Neil Robertson and Stephen Hendry narrowly missed out with 1.07% of the vote apiece, while there were a further 66 accounts to have received at least one vote.
Thanks to everyone who voted for my own Twitter feed, while unsurprisingly the official World Snooker account is the only other account to have made double figures in terms of percentage of the total vote.
Next up comes by far the most popular players account, the ever-honest and entertaining Mark Williams, who received exactly the same number of votes as fellow blogger Snookerbacker.
Something of a surprise to me was the fact as many as 9.08% answered with none, or that the did not use Twitter, while Ronnie O’Sullivan and Shaun Murphy were the only other players to make the top ten.
Dave Hendon and Inside Snooker, the latter receiving an appropriate 1.47% of the vote come up next, while the snookerorg account rounds out the top 10.
Good news for World Snooker, as the majority of voters said that they do enjoy their coverage through social media, something that has noticeably developed during the course of the past six months or so.
Finally for this section of the survey, I asked whether readers would like to hear more snooker podcasts, primarily as this is something that I am often asked by people when I am at tournaments.
The result was in fact very close, with just over half of the vote agreeing that they would like more podcasts.
Personally they are not something that I have a particular need for, but I did used to enjoy those provided by David Hendon on his old Snooker Scene Blog back in the day and perhaps this is something that will be revisited again in the future, either by me or one of the other snooker blogs.
More results will follow later in the week…