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Page last updated at 14:25 GMT, Wednesday, 12 January 2011

BBC extends snooker coverage deal for three more years

Neil Roberton claimed the 2010 world snooker crown
Robertson beat Graeme Dott to claim the 2010 world title

The BBC has signed a new deal to screen the World and UK championships, Masters and Welsh Open until the end of the 2013/2014 snooker season.

The contract extends the BBC's deal with World Snooker by three years.

"We are absolutely thrilled to extend our partnership with the BBC for a further three years," said World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn.

"The deal strengthens our foundations and allows us to keep pushing forward with the sport's new era."

Australian Neil Robertson is the current world champion after he beat Graeme Dott in the 2010 final and Hearn cited that tournament's viewing figures as evidence of snooker's public appeal.

606: DEBATE

"Last year the World Championship reached 18.7 million people across the tournament, showing there is a big appetite for the sport," he added.

"The World Championship, which has been extensively covered by the BBC every year since 1978, as well as the Masters, the UK Championship and the Welsh Open, has become part of the sporting fabric of the nation.

"These events are among the jewels in the crown of the sporting calendar and it is fantastic that they are to remain on the BBC."

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry added: "Ever since I've played snooker, the BBC has been the main broadcaster for our sport. The biggest tournaments belong on the BBC so it's excellent news that we've extended the deal."

BBC director of sport Barbara Slater said: "We're delighted to have renewed our partnership with World Snooker.

"The BBC has a proud history of coverage of top-class snooker and we're looking forward to continuing to bring the highest quality coverage to our audiences."

One tournament that will not be covered by the BBC is the World Open, formerly the Grand Prix, which will be played overseas this year.

An announcement is due within the next three week about where the tournament will be played, with Asia, China or the Middle East in contention.

In 2011 there will be more events played outside the UK than in it, and Hearn said this fact, plus the way big name players were being beaten at the Masters at Wembley, showed the health of the game.

"It is no surprise to me these big games have fallen this week at the Masters considering the increased activity in the lesser known events," he said.

"The bar has been raised. The standard is increasing all the time and if the players don't produce their A game then they will beaten. That is how competitive sport should be.

"The picture is very rosy indeed for snooker," added Hearn, who also revealed he was heading out to Las Vegas next week to discuss potential development in the United States.



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see also
Masters handed sponsorship boost
29 Dec 10 |  Snooker
Hearn handed control of snooker
02 Jun 10 |  Snooker
New Crucible snooker deal agreed
30 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
08 Apr 11 |  Snooker


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