Saudi Arabia pockets snooker ‘major’


Snooker tournament heads to Saudi Arabia Image: Coliseum GSVA

Saudi Arabia is set to host the unofficial “fourth Major” of snooker as part of a 10-year deal with the Kingdom.

Yahoo! Finance said a prize pot of £2 million will be on offer in Riyadh in August, while the World Pool Championships will head to Jeddah in June.

The World Snooker Tour and World Nineball Tour – in partnership with the Saudi Arabian Billiard & Snooker Federation and the Ministry of Sport for Saudi Arabia – confirmed that a historic, decade-long association will start this summer, with events in both Riyadh and Jeddah.

It begins this June (3rd-8th), when the 2024 World Pool Championship – the crown jewel of the World Nineball Tour – takes place at the Green Halls in Jeddah.

A record World Nineball Tour prize fund of $1,000,000 will be contested by the planet’s premier pool cueists, including reigning world champion Francisco Sanchez Ruiz, five-time US Open champion and 2022 world champion Shane Van Boening and 2018 world champion Joshua Filler.

Then, in August (31st-September 7th) in Riyadh, the inaugural Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters – spearheaded by the world’s leading players – takes place and officially becomes the sport’s ‘fourth major’ alongside the traditional Triple Crown events.

A prize pot of over £2 million will be at stake in what is the second richest event on the prestigious World Snooker Tour schedule in 2024.

The Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters will be a world ranking event open to all 128 tour players, plus six local wild cards from the Saudi Arabian Billiard & Snooker Federation.

HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Saudi Minister of Sport, and President of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee Sports said, “Saudi Arabia is an ever-emerging home to all sports and we’re excited by the opportunity to add new world-class events in snooker and Nineball pool to our growing year-round calendar.

“Hosting global events is all part of our strategy to grow all sports and to inspire our people to participate by giving them the chance to enjoy live sporting action. We are a young country with a young population and the approach is working. Since 2018 we’ve hosted over 100 international sports events and during that time sports participation has more than tripled.”

Under Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s ongoing social and economic transformation, the country has become a host for some of the biggest global sports events for both male and female athletes including football, motorsports, tennis, equestrian, esports and golf, attended by over 2.6 million sports fans.

Matchroom Sport chairman Eddie Hearn said, “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. The country has hosted some of the world’s premier sporting events in recent years, welcoming visitors from all over to experience its passion for sport and unique culture.

“The addition of both the Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters and World Pool Championship over the next decade further enhances that as it heralds an exciting chapter for Snooker and Nineball pool. We have seen the incredible impact Boxing has had in this region. Now, I believe we will see Billiards cement its legacy here too, creating incredible opportunities and competition for the finest players on the planet.”

Hearn has established a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia, taking a number of showpiece boxing events to the Kingdom.

Global television syndication will ensure fans around the world will get to enjoy both the Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters and the World Pool Championship.

Both sports have also pledged a strong focus and commitment to grow and develop the game in the region in tandem with the Saudi Arabian Billiard and Snooker Federation, along with offering wild card places to burgeoning, local talent to take part in the annual world-class competitions.

The Kingdom hopes that the inaugural Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters will sit alongside the sport’s existing Triple Crown events – the World Snooker Championship, the invitational Masters and the UK Championship – as a fourth major.

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