Yesterday, Worldsnooker announced the sponsor for three of the Home Nations Series tournaments: the English Open 2019, the Northern Ireland Open 2019 and the Scottish Open 2019.
These three events make up the Home Nations series, alongside the Welsh Open. During the 2020-21 season, all four of these tournaments will be sponsored by 19.com.
The Home Nations series was introduced in 2016, with one world ranking tournament staged in each country in the UK. Any player winning all four events in a single season earns a bonus of £1 million.
The upcoming events in 2019 are:
19.com English Open, Crawley, October 14-20
19.com Northern Ireland Open, Belfast, November 11-17
19.com Scottish Open, Glasgow, December 9-15
Prize money for each of these events has been increased from £366,000 to £405,000. Each tournament features 128 players in a flat draw, all needing to win seven matches to take the title.
All four events are televised live by host broadcaster Eurosport, Quest, and many other broadcasters around the world.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are thrilled to be working with 19.com for the first time. This is their first venture into the snooker market and I have no doubt they will find that we can deliver top class sporting events.
“Our global reach is growing every year with half a billion viewers around the globe in over 120 countries. On the table, the level of drama and standard of play has never been better. Snooker is a fantastic product and 19.com have recognised that. From next season they will sponsor all four Home Nations events and we look forward to building a strong relationship with their team.
“Over the last three years the Home Nations series has proved a superb addition to our tour. Each of the events create stories, with up-and-coming players given their chance to compete against the top stars in the televised stages. And the chance to win an unprecedented bonus of £1 million is an extra incentive.”
19.com spokesperson Jamie Dillon said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with World Snooker and we are confident that 19.com will be a great addition to the Home Nations series. We are looking forward to bring the best to all snooker followers.”
Tickets for the Home Nations events will be available soon, details will be announced on worldsnooker.com
English Open champions
2016: Liang Wenbo
2017: Ronnie O’Sullivan
2018: Stuart Bingham
Northern Ireland Open champions
2016: Mark King
2017: Mark Williams
2018: Judd Trump
Scottish Open champions
2016: Marco Fu
2017: Neil Robertson
2018: Mark Allen
Bizarely, what business this sponsor is into, isn’t said and looking up the Internet doesn’t yield an immediate answer. However, given the name, and the logo, it’s almost certainly yet another betting firm. Chinese most probably, sponsoring the “Home Nations” tournament. Oh the irony…
Why the Welsh Open isn’t included this season isn’t explained.
I have expressed my concerns about snooker relying so much on the betting industry often enough, I won’t repeat myself here (this time).
Just this: by pure chance, about the time I found out about this, someone on my twitter feed was stating that “nobody pays as well as the bookies”. This was not about snooker, but about some football club. Well yes, indeed, first because they earn so much off the delusions and increasinling often the addictions, of millions that they can afford it more than anyone else, next, of course, because this is feeding the system that enriches them.
In other news, better news hopefully, Ronnie was with Steve Feeney yesterday, catching up and, allegedly, looking forward to the next season. This is the picture they posted on twitter:
Hopefully looking forward to the season will lead to playing in more than three events…