Farewell and thank you SnookerRoom

This morning, I found the annoucement the SnookerRoom channel is no more

cglnpk-wsaaezmr

Dear friends and snooker fans!

It’s time to announce that our project called SnookerRoom come to it’s end. Unlicensed broadcasting is bad, bad, BAD!!! It is illegal and it makes harm to the sport and players. Of course you understand it and you have just the same opinion, especially when you’re sitting in the office of World Snooker or in London’s branch of IMG corporation with billion annual revenue.

Honestly we have a slightly different point of view, but we can’t resist to business sharks. We don’t believe that the organization of webcasts to a small number of loyal fans of snooker caused damage to anyone of the players. We made lots of broadcasts and records of the game to those of you who could not take advantage of the TV or official streams due to territorial or some other reasons… However the commercial director of World Snooker Mr. Pearce (milespearce@hotmail.com) and IMG lawyers clearly know their interests and therefore demand to remove content from our YouTube channel as well as website broadcasts, otherwise we will be prosecuted/threatened litigation and harassment.

We tried to keep alive our channel, which has more than 66 thousand subscribers, and which entirely covered snooker life last years. Moreover, we proposed different compromises to right holders: to put a TM on every video, to indicate their authorship, to give them the whole YouTube channel just to keep it alive without removal of all videos… Well. There is no compromise. All the people who could not see snooker because of the circumstances now is left without snooker. It’s like a sad joke. they say that SnookerRoom s extremely harmful, but they use the video of our YouTube channel even at the World Championship in Sheffield.

We apologize to the players, who suffered some losses because of our activity. The losses which are declared by pricey lawyers of right holders… We hope that we did our best for the promotion of the game which we love. SnookerRoom tried to convey the universe of snooker to those who wanted it, not to harm the game. Thank you for your support, guys! Thank you for watching us, dear friends! Keep calm and love snooker!

P.S. From now @snookerroom twitter account will be maintained by its previous owner. He is not related to our YouTube channel, website or group in Facebook.

I deeply regret that it has come to this, and I will try to explain why.

I totally understand and accept that intellectual property and rights have to be respected, but then … it shouldn’t be a one way thing.

For several years, as a keen snooker fan, I have been paying for every possible official source of broadcasting available to me, in Belgium where I live. Through my telephony and Internet provider, I pay to be able to watch BBC and Eurosport – ITV isn’t available. I also have a subscription to the Worldsnooker streaming … since it became available. And finally I also pay for the Eurosport player subscription.

Despite this, only too often, I have not been able to watch the sport I love, except through “illegal” streaming. Why is that?

Despite paying to watch BBC (only BBC 1 and 2 are made available to me), I don’t have access to the red button functionality. I don’t have access to the iplayer and I don’t have access to the videos on BBC website. Recently even using a VPN hasn’t helped, they are getting smarter.

Despite paying for Eurosport, I’m not always able to watch snooker when it’s on. Why? Because I only have the choice to watch ES on the NL and FR channels, and ES2 only on FR. As you know, if you follow Eurosport, local channels have a good degree of freedom as what they chose to show and, in particular for the FR channel, snooker isn’t high on the list. Moreover, they don’t always respect their published schedules: I’ve stopped counting how often cycling, football or winter sports go overtime at the expense of the snooker, even when the snooker is “live” and the other sport is actually a replay! This also means that when, as a working person, I record the broadcasting, I’m never guaranteed to actually record what I want to record because the snooker has been shifted to another timeslot, or to the other channel, without prior notice. And, as a last note, the commentary on the FR channel is beyond terrible, they have no clue about the sport.

Despite paying for the Worldsnooker streaming, I only too often was unable to watch it because of the “territorial restrictions”. Now I wouldn’t mind if I had actual access to the snooker through Eurosport or BBC, but as I explained just above, this was not always the case, far from it.

I also pay for the Eurosport player, which has often proven to be be the most reliable official source. But then again, it did not give me access to the UK ES channels, which means that I had no chance to follow their punditry or commentary, and when I had the opportunity to follow the Ronnie O’Sullivan show, it was with an annoying voice-over translation that I don’t need and don’t want.

Finally SnookerRoom provided a wealth of videos of past matches, a service that none of the above official channels offer at all. For people new to the sport eager to learn about its history and past matches and players, it was a great source. The “Classic Matches” during the World Championship were hugely appreciated, which proves there is a demand for this, that isn’t currently covered by any “official” source. SnookerRoom did it.

For all those reasons, I find it hard to understand how a project like theirs was actually damaging the sport. Yes, I’m sure a number of people opted out of the paying sources because they knew they could watch it for free. But was this “damage” bigger than the benefits of the promotion and exposure the channel brought to snooker? Personally I doubt it very much, but maybe I’m being naive. Wasn’t there really no possible compromise?

Anyway, I once again want to thank the SnookerRoom team for what they offered to me as a fan, and it was a lot, and I don’t have a bad conscience for using their “illegal” service at all because I did and still do pay for all official sources available to me …

 

4 thoughts on “Farewell and thank you SnookerRoom

  1. Shame!
    For the love of snooker,
    Keep this sight going!
    Many people including me,will refuse to pay and watch these games.
    You joy killer,snooker hater,money grabbing beasts,
    Have you no shame?
    Snookerroom was great.
    Goodby snooker.
    I am out,from here.
    You have no class. That is for sure.

  2. In Canada, snooker has virtually disappeared from the public eye and has not been seen on broadcast television in this country for many, many years. While we work hard to continue to promote the game and run a national championship each year, it is no secret that most of the players are getting older and not many younger ones are coming up to replace them.

    Services like SnookerRoom have done an excellent job of beginning to fill this generation gap and spark the interest from pool players in Canada who otherwise wouldn’t see any reason to play snooker. I too pay for every possible streaming service to support the game, but for all of the reasons listed in this article, sometimes these free YouTube channels are by far the most reliable archives to find what we may have missed live. Moreover, the ability to share them with others is priceless when you’re talking about trying to grow the game globally. It’s a beautiful game to watch and without the efforts of channels like SnookerRoom, we wouldn’t have had nearly as much interest in our snooker competitions in Canada.

    Of course, there is an argument to be made for intellectual property rights, but there is absolutely no evidence that these kinds of things do any ‘harm’ to the game or the players or the association. Significant exposure gains are made by allowing these channels to carry on, or at least come to some measure of compromise in terms of licensing that SnookerRoom has evidently made every effort to obtain. It is particularly sad when fans of snooker pour their own personal time and efforts into promoting the game only to be shut down by a faceless organization that isn’t doing any of that work themselves. SnookerRoom was essentially working for snooker without getting paid and frankly, they should be thankful.

  3. SnookerRoom has made PRICELESS contribution to the universe of snooker. It is unbelievable that the World Snooker authority believes that SnookerRoom is harmful. Harmful to whom? At least not to this game nor its players, not to the majority of the loyal snooker fans.

    We can actually never find something informative from the official website of WPBSA: video documentary of history matches? No where. Tournament highlights? No where. Updated draws, history statistics, TV coverage, match analyses and expectations… No where. Someone paid time and attention for years on Youtube to save all the match videos and sort them out by time and tournaments. Even the authority used the videos of the SnookerRoom YouTube channel at the World Championship in Sheffield. Now they say this channel is harmful. What else can we say.

    Farewell and thank you SnookerRoom.

    From a snooker fan.

Comments are closed.