News

Saudi Arabia to stage its first ranking snooker event

By AFP

February 13, 2024 07:16 PM


Saudi Arabia will stage its first ranking snooker event in 2024, with a prize pool of more than £2 million ($2.5 million) for the "fourth major".

The inaugural Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters will trail only the World Championship in terms of prize money.

The World Snooker Tour has branded it alongside the sport's three elite tournaments; the World Championship, the UK Championship and the Masters.

A 10-year deal has been agreed for the event, which will take place from August 31 to September 7 in Riyadh and is open to the entire tour, plus six local wild cards.

The Riyadh Season World Masters, a non-ranking event limited to the world's top eight, will take place in March and features a new "golden ball" which could increase the maximum break to 167.

Saudi Arabia's efforts to improve its international reputation through sport are often branded "sportswashing".

The kingdom hosts a Formula One Grand Prix, the $20 million Saudi Cup horse race and the Dakar Rally.

It will hold a number of major events in the next decade, including the 2034 World Cup.

The country has become a popular destination for top boxing bouts, while the Saudi Pro League has attracted a host of big-name footballers.

Snooker is the latest sport to head to the Gulf State, with Matchroom Sport chairman Eddie Hearn saying: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has forged a reputation for growth and creating new opportunities for sports to grow in a new market to new fans."

Hearn represents British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua who has fought three times in Saudi Arabia.


AFP


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