14.9.09

CHINA IN THEIR HANDS

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s capture of the Shanghai Masters title underlined the fact that he can win tournaments when not playing at his best.

It also provided further evidence that China is a snooker powerhouse. Crowds at the Grand Stage were strong and enthusiastic while the tournament attracted as many as 50 journalists a day, providing acres of coverage in the Chinese media.

Liang Wenbo has gone above Ding Junhui in the provisional rankings and the country now has two world class players. There are many more practising several hours a day who could break through in the next few years.

This is a market that has been well exploited so far but can still be used to drive the game forward.

But what is needed are different formats and ideas for events away from the mainstream to generate additional excitement.

Here are two:

Firstly, bring back the World Cup and play it in China. This event was a mainstay of the circuit for several years but was only once staged in a grand scale, in Bangkok in 1996.

Playing for one’s country would give the players a different focus and create extra interest in each of the nations represented.

Second, how about a Ryder Cup style competition pitting Asia versus Europe?

You could play singles and doubles matches and make it a regular annual event, alternating between China and European venues.

The WPBSA has enough on its plate with the world ranking circuit but this is an opportunity for independent promoters to cash in on the Chinese boom, which still needs to be nurtured if it is to last.

22 comments:

Chris said...

Great post Dave. Has this idea been sent to the SPA?

World Snooker need to get stuck in and allow the outside promotors to do this and work with them in staging events like this. If World Snooker has the game of snooker as its priority then I can't understand why they wouldn't work with outside promotors to try to get an event like this. The Chinese snooker boom is like a mini 1980s, and it won't last forever and unless it is exploited even further by World Cup style events, the chance will be lost forever.

Dave H said...

The SPA aren't promoters but they may be able to achieve more transparency over the schedule, thus helping promoters secure dates for tournaments

Anonymous said...

China may have 50 journalists a day but unfortunately everywhere here has the same quotes from O'Sullivan including the line:

"It’s very satisfying to get a victory, especially here in China where snooker is so popular. It’s a good feeling."

Which I don't believe came out of his mouth at all and was spun by World Snooker.

What do you reckon Dave?

Dave H said...

I've no reason to believe he didn't say it

Anonymous said...

Well nor have I but we all know he's well capable of putting his foot in his mouth and that he hates travelling, and the quotes everywhere originate from the World Snooker website which as we all know will avoid any controversial remarks.

Nothing against O'Sullivan (apart from his body language during the presentation ceremony where he clearly doesn't know how to be on his best behaviour and showed no respect to his hosts with his demeanour (e.g. legs wide open when sitting down waiting, hand in pocket when receiving trophy, general signs of boredom when waiting for translations, leaning back on sponsors display after collecting trophy, pulling faces during photos)), but I was hoping for some more juicy quotes and more insight into his opponent from his perspective.

I think the problem is after following the likes of yourself and Clive Everton for years I am now completely distrusting of anything I read on the World Snooker website because I know they will avoid the stories we fans want to read about.

Anonymous said...

All for the Ryder Cup-style idea.

It couldn't really have been done before, but Asia would now be capable of putting up a decent fight, especially at home.

The one thing I would say is that doubles might not work. When there were professional doubles tournaments they tended to produce scrappy, disjointed matches, and this was even more the case when it was included in the Nations Cup which ran for a few years a decade or so ago. So I would avocate just singles, but overall I think the idea could be great for snooker if done properly.

Dave H said...

Fair point about doubles, but the odd frame here and there might work as a novelty.

G said...

Good point about Ronnie's demeanour after winning yesterday, I noticed it too. It was digraceful, no other professional would have acted the way he did. Shamefull.

G

Anonymous said...

How come you don't comment about the ridiculous amount of safety flukes ronnie had throughout the tournament?

He would never win without that sort of run of the balls.

RichP said...

Just because Ronnie sometimes says things slightly out of hand in press conferences doesn't always mean that everything he says is controversial. I believe Ronnie did say that and actually enjoys playing in front of big crowds which is what he got in Shanghai.

On the other point, I like the idea of a World Cup but not sure Asia has a strong enough contingent for a Ryder Cup style event. Ding Junhui, Marco Fu, and Liang Wenbo are good and could hold their own but that's where the list ends. Another couple of years and it might be worthwhile.

jamie brannon said...

Dave, what is this I hear about the BBC starting the UK final session at 9pm. Is this because of the Sports Personality? If you don't mind me asking where did you hear this? I know you at EuroSport will be pleased to get the exclusive start of session, but this is not a great move by the beeb, as what if it finishes before 9pm.

Dave H said...

Go to the UK Championship format page on worldsnooker.com

RichP said...

It's on interactive though so it's not all bad. I wouldn't mind Eurosport but Mike Smith is beyond a joke.

Anonymous said...

dave any idea yet what grand prix qualifying matches will be streamed on 110 sport tv yet?

Dave H said...

No, but I'm sure it will be announced on 110sport's site in due course.

Anonymous said...

Leave poor old Mike Smith alone, for he knows not of what he does.

Anonymous said...

China is a powerhouse indeed, but why not some European tournaments/ranking events, let's say Germany, Poland, Benelux. European events are at the moment very much limited with British Isles.

jamie brannon said...

I personally don't have interactive, but I know most do now. Sports Personality is on BBC 1 though so it shouldn't mean a later start. Does anyone know why the event could not be staged a week later and finish on the 20th? Was it Telford who wanted it too finish then?

Anonymous said...

Ah, come on, Dave, too much work and logistics to handle with, we have the six reds to save the sport!

Anonymous said...

Can't see what the problam is snooker final's shown on bbc2 sports personality is on bbc1???

Anonymous said...

G said:
'Good point about Ronnie's demeanour after winning yesterday, I noticed it too. It was digraceful, no other professional would have acted the way he did. Shamefull.'

A lot of players in the professional circuit perfectly know how to present themselves after winning excluding Ronnie. Just one small detail. They don't know how to get a victory.

Danny G said...

@RichP: Don't knock Mike Smith, he is a legend! It's Hallet that annoys - he talks continuously (mostly for no apparent reason) and states the flaming obvious!!!!