More infos about the 2021 Pro Series

WST published this yesterday:

Snooker’s new WST Pro Series will get underway in January with an updated format and total prize money of £420,500.

The innovative world ranking event will take place for the first time in 2021, with 128 players competing for the inaugural title at Arena MK in Milton Keynes.

Players are split into 16 groups of eight for the initial round-robin phase. All matches are best of three frames, and the top two in each group will progress to the second group stage.

The second phase will feature 32 players split into four groups of eight. Once again the top two in each group will go forward.

The player who finishes top of the final group of eight players will be crowned the champion.

The dates for the event are:

January 18-25: Groups one to eight
March 9-16: Groups nine to 16
March 17-20: Second group stage
March 21: Final group

In the initial group phase, one player from each seeding pool (1-16, 17-32, 33-48, 49-64, 65-80, 81-96, 97-112, 113-128), based on the current official world rankings, will be drawn into each group.

Prize money will be as follows:

First group stage
Winner: £4,000
Runner-up: £3,000
3rd Place: £2,500
4th Place:  £2,000
5th Place: £1,500
6th Place: £1,000
7th Place: £500
8th Place: £0

Second group stage
Winner: £10,000
Runner-up: £7,500
3rd place: £5,000
4th place: £4,000
5th place: £3,000
6th place: £2,000
7th place: £1,500
8th place: £1,000

Final group stage
Winner: £20,000
Runner-up: £10,000
3rd place: £7,500
4th place: £5,000
5th place: £4,000
6th place: £3,000
7th place: £2,000
8th place: £1,000

The draw and match schedule will be released after the entry deadline, which is January 6th. The event will be staged behind closed doors but details of broadcasters will be announced soon.

Although best of three is a very short format, it’s 7 matches to play in a day, potentially 21 frames. That’s a lot of snooker. I believe that this kind of competition can really help the younger players. It’s playing against 7 different opponents. They are bound to face different types of games, different styles of players and different paces through the matches. It would be great if both tables were identical “television tables”. that too would help the lower ranked players as they can do with gaining experience with such conditions.

2 thoughts on “More infos about the 2021 Pro Series

  1. Yes there are some good things, and some problematic things. The main problem of course is the huge number of ‘dead’ matches, at least from the point of view of the TV audience. To keep the interest levels up, a match has to be either competitive or meaningful. A best-of-3 match is never going to have drama unless it is meaningful, which it won’t be unless it involves the top 3 or 4 players in each group.

    It’s not clear how the schedule works, but each group comprises 28 matches over 3 frames, i.e. up to 84 frames. That is extremely tight with 2 tables. They will have to be careful how they order the matches and allocated the main viewing table. There is an algorithm to maximise the drama, which would be advisable. To qualify, 5 wins will be the benchmark.

    One problem with the draw is the rigid seeding pots, given the fact that there will be players who don’t enter, players who withdraw, and unfortunately players who test positive for covid. I assume that will mean there are occasionally groups of 7 or 6 players only.

    But I do hope the broadcasters are not as plodding as they have been, and can switch tables and report on what’s going on quickly and intelligently. There are going to be gaps (~10 minutes?) on the main table as matches end, tables are cleaned and equipment sterilized. There will be situations where a player plays back-to-back matches, and also when a player sits out for two matches, so the backstage organisation will have to be sharp to avoid total confusion.

    • Another good reason there to have two real TV tables, and a roving commentating/punditing team a bit like they did at the WC qualifiers in recent years on Judgement day.

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