The qualifying rounds of the Betfred World Championship have been extended by two days and will now run from April 5th to 14th.
The qualifying event will take place at the English Institute of Sport – Sheffield, with all players seeded outside the top 16 battling for one of 16 coveted spots at the Crucible.
The event was previously scheduled to start on April 7th but two days have been added in order to maximise the number of matches broadcast through WST partners’ digital platforms including Eurosport App, Matchroom.Live and our Chinese streaming partners.
The format will be same as 2020:
Players seeded 81-144 contest the opening round.
In round two, those 32 winners will face players seeded 49-80.
In round three, those 32 winners will face players seeded 17-48.
In round four, those 32 winners play each other, with the 16 winners going through to the Crucible.
All matches are best of 11 frames, up until the final round of qualifying on April 13 and 14 which is best of 19.
All ten days will be covered on the Eurosport App, with commentary throughout Europe, plus our partners in the People’s Republic of China – Youku, Zhibo.tv, Migu, Kuaishou and Huya – and Matchroom.Live throughout the rest of the world.
The draw and format will be announced after the Cazoo Tour Championship which finishes on March 28th
Although I would have preferred a best of 19 format from start to finish, I’m happy to have the opportunity to watch more matches. I suppose that there are both logistic and financial reasons behind this decision.
Logistic is easy to understand, the less people at the venue, the easier it is to implement the social distancing rules and covid-related sanitary precautions (testing, sanitising…).
WST has kept the events going this season, but the absence of crowds at venues did surely generate significant losses in revenue, for themselves and the sponsors. To provide for more TV exposure is probably one way to compensate for it to an extend et least when it comes to the sponsors, and, as a result this increases the chances to keep them on board in the future.