Players throughout the World Snooker Tour are earning more prize money than ever before as the sport continues to grow worldwide.
During the 2017/18 season a record £13.7 million was paid out. Those at the top are earning vast sums, with four players earning over £500,000 for the first time: Mark Williams (£898,776), Ronnie O’Sullivan (£888,000), John Higgins (£612,372) and Mark Selby (£565,085).
Overall the top 16 earned £7.30m, a 29% increase on the previous season. Those ranked 17-32 earned £2.27m (42% increase), those ranked 33-64 earned £2.27m (46% increase) and those ranked outside of the top 64 earned £1.46m (45% increase).
These figures reflect that fact that snooker’s commercial success has benefited all players, and that prize money increases have been spread out across the tour. In addition, entry fees for players to enter tournaments were abolished in 2017, reducing expenses significantly for all players.
Craig Steadman is currently in 64th place on the 2018-19 season one-year list, having earned £16,500 so far from eight of the season’s 20 ranking events.
“I think a lot of players would agree with me if I say there has never been a better time to be a player,” said Steadman. “As far as I’m concerned the more tournaments the better.
“Last week I lost 6-5 in the first round of the UK Championship and I don’t want to be sitting at home licking my wounds, I’d rather be looking forward to the next tournament, which is in Scotland next week. Ten years ago there were only six tournaments and if you lost a qualifier you’d have nothing for two months.
“The other advantage of having so many events is that it improves you as a player, which is what we all want. When I started playing snooker as a kid I wanted to play every day and I still do.
“Some players might want to be paid a fortune just for turning up, but that’s not reality. It’s tough when you lose, but there are plenty of opportunities to win matches and earn prize money.”
No Craig, it’s not about players just wanting to be paid a fortune for turning up …
Actually you are just making Ronnie’s case more obvious.
Except at the Riga Masters, where he reached the last 16, He’s never got further than the last 32. So he was probably out of every tournament he played at the latest mid-week, leaving him with plenty of time to practice and prepare for the next. And he’s qualified for the main event in China only once, and immediately lost, which means that he only had to travel across time zones once and had plenty of time to recover from jet lag before the next event. Yes it suits him, no doubt, although £165000 since June, before taxes and expenses is hardly a fortune. But what he got, he got it because the top players attract sponsors, broadcasters and audience. Yes, the top players are the ones bringing the money AND they are the ones who suffer most from the hectic schedule because they reach the latter stages of most tournaments they enter.
And apparently they should shut up as well.