World Snooker Launches International Championship

Interesting news today as World Snooker and CCTV announced China’s fifth full-ranking event, the new International Championship, which will be staged for the next five years and feature the largest top prize ever for a snooker event in Asia. Click below for a summary of all of the key points from today’s launch…

The main points arising are as follows:

  • The event will run from 28th October 2012 to 4th November 2012
  • The total prize fund will be £600,000, with the winner to collect £125,000
  • Ranking points will be at the same level as the UK Championship
  • The event will run for at least five years
  • There will be eight wildcards, as per the other events currently in China. These will be allocated as follows
    • The top two from the CBSA Chinese Professional Snooker Tour
    • Four to the top four under-21 players on the Chinese national tour
    • Two to the ACBS to allow other Asian players to play
  • The format will be similar to the other events in China, although the semi-finals will be played over two sessions under a best of 17 format. The final will be played over the best of either 19 or 21 frames, details still to be confirmed
  • The venue and host city for the tournament is still to be confirmed

As is immediately evident, this is set to be a tournament of real significance, with both a high level of ranking points and a large first prize to play for. One of the questions asked in the press conference was whether the event now replaces the Masters as the third ‘major’ on the calendar and while I would not go this far, there is a big argument to suggest that this event could well become snooker’s fourth ‘major’ in years to come.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce this fantastic new event, alongside CCTV Sports & Entertainment Co Ltd, a great partner with vast experience in television broadcast and events.

“The International Championship will be an outstanding addition to the calendar and will take snooker into a city which has never staged a professional event before, which will help the sport continue to grow in China.

“The prize money for this event is the highest ever seen in China, and the incentive for all snooker players to climb to the top of the sport and reap the awards has never been greater.

“Last season there were two ranking events in China, next season there will be five. That shows the level of growth in the region and the hunger of the Chinese fans for more snooker. This tournament will really be something special.”

China’s top player Ding Junhui added: “It’s great news for the players and the Chinese fans that we will have a new ranking tournament in China next season. It’s another chance for our supporters there to watch the best players. I’m really excited about playing in the International Championship and I’m sure it will be a great success.”