Eurosport 10 years agreement

Yesterday Barry Hearn made a major announcement:

Thursday 28 Apr 2016 03:30PM


Eurosport signs new 10-year agreement with World Snooker and IMG

• Eurosport, the Discovery-owned broadcaster, underlines its position as the Home of Snooker across Europe through coverage of all major snooker tournaments, including the World Snooker Championship, for the 2016/17 to 2025/26 seasons inclusive.

• The agreement is an extension of its exclusive European rights to 18 tournaments of the World Snooker Tour, in addition to World Ranking Event qualifiers including the World Snooker Championship Qualifiers in Sheffield.

• The deal includes exclusive TV and digital rights to the ‘Home Nations Series’ in Europe*

• Eurosport has also secured the rights for the Indian Open, Paul Hunter Classic, 6 Reds World Championship and the Shoot Out (excluding the UK)

Eurosport, World Snooker and IMG have today announced a 10-year extension of the TV and digital rights to show 18 tournaments of the World Snooker Tour on Eurosport and Eurosport Player, its live and on-demand digital service. The agreement strengthens Eurosport’s position as the home of snooker across Europe, allowing fans to follow the sport’s biggest and most exciting moments live.

The events will be shown exclusively on Eurosport in 54 markets across Europe*. In addition to the live action, fans will be able to enjoy insight from leading players and personalities within the game on special programming. There will also be enhanced match coverage on Eurosport Player, where fans will be able to choose which matches to watch from cameras covering multiple tables.

Speaking at a press conference at the World Snooker Championship, Peter Hutton, Chief Executive Officer at Eurosport said: “Snooker has some of sport’s most ardent fans and has been a major part of Eurosport’s programming since it was first broadcast on the channel in 2003. Eurosport has since been a strong partner to help grow the popularity of the sport across Europe, showcasing the best competitions, providing insightful expert commentary and exceptional new programming such as ‘The Ronnie O’Sullivan Show’.

“We see excellent viewing figures for snooker and we are delighted to announce that we will continue to share the best moments from the sport with fans across the continent for the next 10 years.”

World Snooker Chairman, Barry Hearn added: “This long term deal with Eurosport is a very significant moment for our sport. Eurosport has played a crucial role in the rapid growth of snooker across the continent over the past 13 years, making it one of the most popular and highest-rating sports in the region. The players are now travelling to many corners of the continent and seeing a new-found passion among fans who might not have even heard of snooker until they saw it on Eurosport. We’re excited about continuing this growth over the coming decade, staging new events in the UK and around Europe, and working alongside the Eurosport team in building ever stronger foundations.”

Adam Kelly, Head of Sales EMEA & Global Business Development Worldwide, SVP IMG Media, concluded: “We are pleased to have achieved our aim of ensuring both continued growth and increased awareness of the World Snooker Tour, through securing distribution with Eurosport on behalf of World Snooker. This extension will enable the sport to continue to benefit from the expansive coverage they offer across the region, both on their TV channels and digitally.”

The long-term, multiplatform agreement includes the exclusive coverage of the inaugural ‘Home Nations Series’ comprised of the Welsh Open, Scottish Open, Irish Open and English Open.

*In the UK, four of the tournaments will be shown, but not exclusively: the World Championship, Masters, UK Championship and Welsh Open. The rights to the Players Championship and the World Grand Prix do not include rights to the UK.

About Eurosport

Eurosport, the Discovery-owned sports broadcaster, connects fans and athletes around the greatest sports events. Its channels, Eurosport 1, Eurosport 2 and Eurosportnews, reach 243 million cumulative subscribers across 99 countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. is Europe’s No.1 online sports news website with up to 23 million visitors each month. Eurosport Player is an all-access pass to the greatest events on the calendar, available anytime and on any device in 52 countries. Eurosport Events specialises in the management and promotion of international sporting events. More information is available by visiting

About IMG

IMG is a global leader in sports, events, media and fashion, operating in more than 25 countries. The company represents and manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is one of the largest independent producers and distributors of sports media. IMG also specializes in sports training; league development; and marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, a leading global entertainment agency.

Source: Worldsnooker

Crucible 2016: Last 16 and QF rounds

It’s Semi Finals time here in Sheffield, and we are down to one table.

It turns out to be quite an extraordinary World Championship this one, full of surprises and great stories, as the favourites continued to tumble.

In the last 16, Alan McManus ousted Ali Carter, Kyren Wilson beat Mark Allen convincingly, Ding sent Judd Trump home  on a 13-10 score, and, of course, Barry Hawkins beat Ronnie in an epic match.

If you ever want to see bad attitude at the table, watch the last session of the Carter-McManus last 16. I know that Carter had a very tough time and he is an emotional guy, but he was totally out of order at times. If Ronnie had done half of it, the media would have crucified him, and it would have been all over the papers, but Ali isn’t Ronnie … so they kept it rather quiet considering. That said, the next day, Ali himself acknowledged that he hadn’t handled the situation properly, and credits to him for doing so. We should all remember that players are not robots, and emotions run quite high sometimes, especially here in the Crucible cauldron.

Judd also managed to attract attention for the wrong reasons. Having hinted before the Championship that he was “going to win”, he was outplayed by Ding Junhui, quite convincingly, and got into a row with Dominic Dale on twitter during the match. Dominic had tweeted that Judd’s poor cue ball control was being his downfall in this match and Judd took exception of it, branding Dom “clueless”. Sorry Judd, but, IMO, Dominic was absolutely right.

Barry Hawkins is a badly underrated player and he’s extremely strong tactically and mentally since he’s worked with Terry Griffiths. He proved it in the way he beat Ronnie and , again yesterday, coming from 9-1 down to peg back Marco Fu 12-11. Marco who, amazingly,  is coached by Wayne Griffiths, Terry’s son, managed one of the best dishes you’ll ever see to win the match 13-11. Wayne wins the battle of the coaches this time!

The hero of the last days however is Alan McManus, who, at 45, is back in the SF for the first time in 23 years! Having beaten Ali in the last 16, he sent John Higgins home with a 13-11 win in the QF. John Higgins later admitted that he felt the pressure and cracked, whilst Alan didn’t. John of course had seen the draw open for him and must feel that he missed a golden opportunity to to make it 5. But Alan it is and I can tell you that the atmosphere in the arena was incredible yesterday evening, the crowd was largely behind Alan, even among those who were sat at the other table.

Alan is a very knowledgeable person, intelligent and curious of all things, an excellent pundit, a very decent photographer … and what a player! He also writes very well and I recommand everyone to read his blog

So now we have two qualifiers battling it out in the SF, Ding Junhui v Alan McManus, and two seasoned pros,  Mark Selby v Marco Fu.

It’s the first time since 1978 that two qualifiers meet in the SF round at the Crucible, and the qualifying system was very different then.

It will also be interesting to see if Mark Selby’s decision to withdraw from the Players Championship Final and the China Open will prove to be the right one for him: it might well be, he looks fresher than anyone else remaining in the draw.

All detailed results are on

Ronnie speaks to Desmond Kane after his last 16 defeat

After his defeat to Barry Hawkins on Monday night, Ronnie spoke to Desmond Kane, from Eurosport,  and here is the interview

Ronnie O’Sullivan put a brave face on losing 13-12 to Barry Hawkins in the last 16 of the World Championship by vowing to redouble his efforts to win a sixth title at the Crucible Theatre in 2017.

The five-times champion and tournament favourite was edged out by fellow Englishman Hawkins in the final match of the second round after recovering from trailing 12-9 to force a deciding frame with stirring breaks of 124, 88 and 63 only to come up agonisingly short.

It was a match O’Sullivan felt he could and probably should have won having lost several close frames that could easily have gone the other way amid some of his usual heavy break-building that also included runs of 139, 88, 103, 68, 118, 82, 89, 93 and 70.

Astonishingly enough, it was Hawkins’ first win over O’Sullivan since 2002 and only his second in 12 matches. Hawkins’ reward is a quarter-final meeting with Marco Fu of Hong Kong on Tuesday and Wedneday as the push for a £330,000 first prize is fought out between eight men.

“I was competing in the potting and the big breaks, and all of that side of it,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport.


“That is always the side you need to have right if you have any hope of competing in the tournament.

“I just didn’t compete in the safety game really, and I probably lost it a little bit in the first session when I was trailing 5-3.

“It is always tough going behind early in the match. I probably felt I had the better of it, and was maybe a bit hard done by to go 4-4 in the second session.

“Tonight I found a bit of form towards the end, probably had the better of it, and felt a bit hard done by the way the last frame went.

“It was probably one of those matches I was never going to win, but I’m pleased I stuck at it, competed and made him earn it.”

Hawkins slotted a red into a baulk pocket before compiling 56 to set him up for a rare win over an opponent who overcame him 18-12 in the 2013 world final and drubbed him 10-1 in the Masters final in January.

“It was a shot to nothing, “said O’Sullivan. “He wasn’t leaving anything on if he missed, but it was a good pot and he made a good 50-odd break. All credit to Barry, and I wish him well for the rest of the tournament.”

O’Sullivan – champion here in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013 – feels his game is holding up well at the age of 40, having won the Masters and Welsh Open since the start of the year.

Stephen Hendry is the most prolific winner in the modern era with seven titles in the 1990s with Steve Davis and Ray Reardon both on six respectively.

“Listen, at the moment, I’m absolutely devastated to have not got through,” he said. “25 appearances here, five wins, so that is a one-in-five shot. This year it wasn’t meant to be, but I look forward to coming back here.

 “I think my best form here was in 2012, 2013 and 2014. I think in those three years, I was as strong as I’ve ever been.

“I’ve still nicked a couple of tournaments this year and last year, and I feel like I’m not doing too badly for a 40-year-old.”

After he moves on from the frustration of losing in the second round for the first time since 2009, O’Sullivan is planning a trip to America over the summer months to film a documentary on the game of pool.

“I’m looking forward to a few more exhibitions, a trip to Romania, a bit of holiday time and a nice three-week trip across America,” he said.

“I’m doing a travel log programme. I’m going to New York, Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans. It is a bit about pool and local pool players are going to show us around the area.

“We’re going to have fun, bounce around America and have a bit of a laugh.”

Crucible 2016 – Barry Hawkins beats Ronnie by 13-12 in last 16 thriller

Ronnie’s bid for a sixth World Title in 2016 came to an end yesterday evening, as Barry Hawkins beat him by 13-12 in the last session of the last 16 round.

It was an absolute thriller of a match, both players playing to a very, very high standard. Both players gave it absolutely everything they had and should be commended for the way they played. The way Ronnie fought back to close the gap from 12-9 down to force a decider was absolutely fantastic. How Barry played the decider, after losing the last three frames in next to no time, was equally remarkable.

This was a real treat for the fans and by far the best match of the tournament so far, even of the season in my opinion. It’s really a shame that those two had to clash at such an early stage because both showed a form that could win them the title. I now wish Barry the very best and would be delighted if he can lift the trophy next Monday.

Here are the statistics after 24 frames, it’s telling it all:


Detailed results and scores can be found on cuetracker as always, this is an excerpt:

Scores (Barry Hawkins first) : 74(54)-23; 0-139(139); 102(102)-25; 0-88(88); 31-107(103); 90-21; 62-21; 60-0; 73-68(68); 1-118(118); 74(74)-1; 0-82(82); 106(65)-0; 0-89(89); 0-78; 81-0; 3-98(93); 68-55; 26-71(70); 68(54)-30; 94(94)-0; 0-124(124); 0-92(88); 52-64(63); 70(56)-15

Centuries: Barry Hawkins: 102;  Ronnie O’Sullivan: 139, 103, 118, 124

Referee: Brendan Moore

As you can see, Ronnie made 12 breaks over 60, in winning 12 frames and still lost the match. In his postmatch, he made a good and unbiased analysis of how this could happen.

Here is Ronnie’s postmatch press conference, very balanced, even positive I’d say

A few pictures of the match, courtesy of Tai Chengzhe, thank you Tai.

If you haven’t seen the match, or want to watch it again, here it is:

Session 1:

Session 2:

Session 3:

I was sat in the arena for this match. I remember having no expectations. I knew that Ronnie had been unwell mentally after his first-round match and I was amazed that he was playing at all. The key in that match was that Ronnie was not able to win the close frames;

Crucible 2016 – some news

Today is the last day of the last 16 round, as I write, Ronnie is trailing Barry Hawkins by 9-7; they will play to a conclusion tonight. The press is already full of “shock exit” ramble.

First of all the match isn’t over yet, Ronnie was 9-7 down to Joe Perry at this stage in 2014, and won the match 13-11. That said, at the time, Ronnie had not been playing that well in the two first sessions and was able to raise his game in the last. The question is, can he do the same here? Because the truth is, Ronne has been playing very well, and he still trails; to put it in the words of Hector Nunns:

O’Sullivan threw the kitchen sink at the world No. 11, making breaks of 139, 88, 103, 68, 118, 82, 89 and 48 in the match.

But Hawkins dug deep to make breaks of 54, 102, 74 and 65 breaks while also winning some of the scrappier frames to stay ahead.

In fairness, this has been an absolutely brilliant match up to now, both players playing at a very, very high standard, and it’s a shame one of them will go out so early.

Some fans suggest that Barry will feel the pressure. I doubt it. It is true that he hasn’t beaten Ronnie in 14 years, but, remember, this is a man who has been at the SF stage here, in the last three years, a player who stood with Ronnie in the 2013 final and forced him to be at his absolute best to win. He won’t go away and he knows that if Ronnie is a notch below his best, he can and will beat him, and it could well happen tonight.

I don’t know how Ronnie will feel if he loses, he will be disappointed certainly, but he also should be able to assess how well himself and Barry are playing, there is very little between them. At the table, he has been focused and has applied himself. He’s been much better on all accounts than last year … and yet … But that’s sport and he will know that too.

Also in the news are articles about Ronnie allegedly “calling” to quit the Crucible.

Here again a bit of caution is needed before getting all mad …

These are two articles on the subject, written by the same person, Hector Nunns, a journalist I totally respect:

This one was published in the Daily Mail online

This is Hector writing on his own blog/website, inside-snooker.

The difference in tone is immediately apparent. The title of the first one suggests that Ronnie is promoting the idea to leave the Crucible whilst the second article rather suggests that he sees it as an inevitable move given snooker development and the shortage of tickets available for the World Championship due to the Crucible theatre limited capacity. How come when it’s the same guy writing both? Well I can see only one explanation: the first one is to be published by a paper and it has to be “selling” otherwise the editor won’t have it, the second is on his own site where he is facing no commercial constraints. I know which version I trust, but unfortunately chances are that the general public will read only one, and it’s likely to be the first because this is the general press as opposed to a specialized site.

Now, about the question itself, whether the Crucible is still the venue the World Championship needs, I, like most fans, would be gutted to see it go. It’s an icon, it has history. But when you leave emotions and feelings aside, the truth is, Ronnie has a point about the limited capacity.

Last week, on inside-snooker , Hector has  published two articles, well worth reading. One is about the “viagogo issue” and the other about the disappearance of the season tickets. It is clear, reading those, that we are in a situation where there IS a shortage of tickets, and that opens the door to speculators, to people who will buy the most “valuable” tickets early, and speculate on mounting demand to make profit, possibly huge profit, at the expense of the fans desperate to be there where it happens. Those people don’t care about the sport, they don’t care about loyalty or the fans, they want money. Of course, the human impact can’t be compared, but it’s just the same mentality as the one that leads to exploits the shortage of housing to make maximum profit, even if it means keeping houses empty, whilst thousand have to live on the street or squats. Is it what we want?


Crucible 2016 – Last 32

The last 32 round of the World Championship 2016 concluded yesterday and it’s fair to say that it already brought its fair share of surprises.

For the first time ever under the current format, both last year finalists went out in the last 32, Stuart Bingham losing by 10-9 to Ali Carter, and Shaun Murphy being beaten 10-8 by Anthony McGill. Shaun had put an an end to Anthony’s brilliant debut last year in the QF … sweet revenge?

But that’s not all.

Neil Robertson, seen by many as one of the hot favourites for the title was beaten, fair and square, by a brilliant and mentally solid Michael Holt.

Alan McManus got the better of Stephen Maguire, who had just squeezed in the top 16 by reaching the SF in the China Open. It’s been a while since Maguire managed to win a match at the Crucible.

Ding Junhui of course is a qualifier but everyone knew how dangerous he could be, and he proved it by sending Martin Gould home, on a 10-8 score. To be fair to both players, this was an excellent match.

Sam Baird saw off Michael White, who later revealed that he was suffering from depression.

Finally Kyren Wilson – who Ronnie tipped to become a great of the game – beat Joe Perry by 10-9 in another high quality encounter.

So that makes it 7 qualifiers through to the last 16 … so much for Peter Ebdon’s prediction that they would be too tired to compete. In fact many of them appeared match sharp and putting a lot of pressure on their seed opponent who came here cold and without any ranking points in case of defeat.

Among the seeds, Judd Trump, Ronnie and Ricky Walden were really made to work.

Judd looked in big danger after the first session, trailing 6-3, but he fought back and somehow, after he won frame 12, to trail only 7-5, his opponent Liang Wenbo completely lost his way whilst Judd grew in confidence and started playing the way he can.

Ronnie was never behind but David Gilbert played extremely well and managed to put him under pressure. Towards the end of the match Ronnie was showing signs of frustration and anxiety. But he hold it together. The after-match is another story …

Ricky Walden eventually came out the winner of a turgid affair against Robbie Williams. I think both players were happy it was over, and so was the audience most certainly.

The other seeds, Mark Allen, Barry Hawkins, Marco Fu, John Higgins, Mark Williams and Mark Selby had an easy passage. Marco Fu and John Higgins in particular looked sharp and at ease, whilst Barry Hawkins and Mark Selby looked vulnerable despite a comfortable winning score.

Marco Fu, by the way, is already though to the quarter finals, having beaten Anthony Mc Gill by 13-9 tonight, and he will be Ronnie’s opponent, if Ronnie progresses.

All detailed results are on

More Snooker Titans …

I would like to relay this article by snooker huge fan and Romanian blogger Ramona Dragomir . You can follow Ramona’s blog here

O’Sullivan, Steve Davis & Selby to play in #SnookerTitans Trophy Cluj

14:53:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments


Photo by Monique Limbos

Ronnie O’Sullivan, Steve Davis and Mark Selby will be playing in another #SnookerTitans Trophy edition, this time set to take place in Cluj on 18th & 19th of June. The three snooker stars are to be accompanied by Reanne Evans and Jimmy White.

#RomaniaLovesSnooker and the latest edition of the #SnookerTitans Trophy (2-3 April) proved that in grand style. Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, Mark Williams and Jimmy White entertained the Romanian audience for two days of what could be easily described as pure snooker bliss.

In the end, because this is a competition, Mark Williams got to lift the first #SnookerTitans trophy, but in the heart of the Romanian public every player was a winner that day. More on that marvellous experience here.

Now the time has come for the #SnookerTitans Trophy to get on the road and reach another corner of the country, (aka. Cluj) so on 18th and 19th of June 2016 the Romanian audience will get the chance to see la crème de la crème: Ronnie O’Sullivan, Steve Davis, Mark Selby, the 11-time ladies world champion Reanne Evans and “The People’s champion” Jimmy White (until this point his presence hasn’t been confirmed, so more to follow on this subject).

Six-time world champion, Steve Davis has just announced his retirement from professional snooker (click here to find out more) after no less than 38 years of playing across the globe, so this will be a tremendous occasion for the Romanian public to meet & greet the man that dominated the 80s and has had a huge saying on how snooker has developed throughout the years.

The event will take place at the Polyvalent Hall from Cluj, the same place that will host the European Championship (Romanian’s first ever snooker ranking event) from October 3rd to 9th  and is organized by McCann&Thiess Events.

The event’s top organizer, Mr Adrian Thiess started this project back in November 2015, when the Romanian public had its first genuine snooker encounter with Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stuart Bingham refereed by Michaela Tabb at the Circus Arena from Bucharest.

Tickets are available online at:

So, who’s coming? Come on, I know you want to! 😉