The first televised snooker of the new season takes place in Sofia, Bulgaria over the next three days.
The European Tour is now the name given to the eight PTCs played in Europe and the UK. The first prize for the European events has risen from €10,000 in its first season to €25,000 in the current campaign.
Bulgaria is a part of Europe which has taken to snooker on Eurosport but there is much to be done to pull together an event – and it has been, chiefly by Oleg Velinov, the promoter.
It was a proud moment for him and the Bulgarian snooker community last year when they staged the first professional event held there, won in fine fashion by Judd Trump.
Trump is among the star names heading back to Sofia, alongside the likes of Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, John Higgins, Mark Williams and the reigning world champion, Ronnie O’Sullivan, who is apparently to appear on Bulgarian TV’s version of the Letterman show.
Like all the PTCs, this is a gathering of the great, the good and the not very good. But amateurs see it as their big chance to gain experience and some of the locals will make it on to TV.
Step forward Iveilo Pekov, who faces Robertson in the first match tomorrow morning. Logic suggests he is on a one-way ticket to a beatdown but as Robertson forgot to take his dress suit with him to the Wuxi Classic qualifiers you never know.
One TV match pits Barry Hawkins, the Crucible runner-up just a month ago, against 17 year-old Alexander Ursenbacher of Switzerland, who has turned professional after coming through the Q School.
My research on Ursenbacher reveals he once won a tournament called the Sausage Open, but it will surely take a superhuman effort if he is to bring home the bacon in Sofia.
Eurosport’s live coverage starts at 7.30am UK time on Friday morning.