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Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 16:35 UK

Snooker announces new deal with Crucible Theatre

World Snooker Championship
Date: 17 April-3 May 2010 Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Coverage: Live coverage each day on BBC Two, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website (UK only), updates on BBC Radio 5 Live. Full TV schedule

Crucible Theatre
The Crucible has hosted the World Snooker Championship since 1977

By Mark Ashenden
BBC Sport in Sheffield

The Crucible Theatre will remain the home of the World Snooker Championship until 2015 after a one-year extension to the current deal was announced.

New snooker chief Barry Hearn made the announcement on the second day of semi-finals at the famous Sheffield arena.

"The headline is 'nothing is changing' - the championship will be here until the absolute minimum 2015," said Hearn.

Meanwhile, World Snooker also announced the creation of a new ranking event in Germany from February 2011.

The German Masters, which will be held in the 2500-capacity Berlin Tempodrom, will get under way on 2 February to become the seventh ranking event on the main tour.

It will be open to the top 16 in the world, plus 16 qualifiers and eight more German qualifiers.

"We know that there is a huge interest for snooker in Germany," said Hearn.

"We can see this from our viewing figures on Eurosport, the number of German registered users on our website and the German fans who come over to the UK to watch our events. It is time to give something back to our German fans. I am sure the event will be a great success."

606: DEBATE

Hearn is hoping to win a controlling interest in World Snooker in a vote after the current World Championship, with the promise of a revolutionary new approach to rejuvenate the sport.

But for all his plans to make changes, he is keen to keep snooker's most prestigious event at its traditional Crucible home.

"I always said we would not mess with the crown jewels. Box office takings are higher than ever," said Hearn.

The theatre, which has hosted the championship since 1977 and has maximum capacity of 976, recently underwent a revamp ahead of the 2010 tournament.

Hearn added: "Sheffield is the city of steel but it's now the city of snooker.

"All qualifying tournaments, a minimum of four professional tournaments and the qualifying school will be held in the city.

"I want every snooker player in the world to know the home of snooker is here in Sheffield.

"This game is going to be massive.

"We are at the beginning of a new era. Tennis has Wimbledon and cricket has Lords, and while I have a breath in my body, the Crucible will remain snooker's home."



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see also
Hearn plots snooker revolution
15 Apr 10 |  Business
Ebdon hits out at Hearn proposals
22 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Williams backs Hearn control bid
14 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Hearn confirmed as snooker chief
17 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Snooker's future rests in Sheffield
22 Apr 05 |  Snooker
Sheffield verdict thrills Caborn
22 Apr 05 |  Snooker
Championship to stay in Sheffield
22 Apr 05 |  Snooker
Six cities bid for snooker worlds
17 Dec 04 |  Snooker


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