Rolf Kalb has been reflecting on the outcome of the recent German Masters qualifiers and how their outcome may possibly impact the tournament and the future of snooker in Germany.
The original text is in German but a translation is offered and here it is:
DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THE GERMAN MASTERS: MORE PRIZE MONEY, DIFFERENT FORMAT?
The elimination of many top players in the qualification for the German Masters caused shock waves. This leads to discussions in the snooker world. Only six players from the current top 16 in the world rankings managed to qualify. Ronnie O’Sullivan had canceled his launch; the others failed in the preliminary rounds. As a result, critical voices calling for changes increased.
Judd Trump indicated to the portal “The Sportsman” that he might not take part in the German Masters next year. He demanded more prize money and that the top players didn’t have to play a qualifier. He also criticized that the German Masters had not developed further.
Of course, the many failures in qualifying cannot be explained away. It’s annoying for the fans. One explanation for the cancellations is that the qualification was played immediately after the UK Championship. One week on the big stage at an outstanding tournament, the other week in the prosaic qualifying environment, with practically no spectators and, above all, no atmosphere. This is worse than a cold shower. That can be demotivating.
However, the many surprises at the subsequent Scottish Open naturally put this finding into perspective.Of course, more prize money is always great for the players. Nobody has anything against that. But the money has to come from somewhere. There’s nothing left to get from the fans. The income from TV rights cannot be increased indefinitely either. So only sponsors remain. In view of the currently very difficult economic environment, however, there are also limits in this area.
Then there is the question of qualifying the top players. Should the top 16 no longer have to qualify, that would mean 32 more matches in the Tempodrom. However, it is not possible to set up more tables in the Tempodrom (you tried it once and then rightly left it again very quickly). So the tournament would have to be extended. The Tempodrom is a great location, but unfortunately also an expensive one. I doubt that the ticket sales for Monday and/or Tuesday will cover the additional costs.
In addition, other events usually take place in the Tempodrom on the weekend before the snooker. And the expansion for the German Masters now takes two days. So where are the extra tournament days supposed to come from? Apart from the fact that there is still the question of whether the team, which consists largely of volunteers, is able to handle it.Looking for another venue for the German Masters is also not a good idea.
The Tempodrom in particular gives the German Masters a special status. As a result, the tournament has an extremely high recognition value. Not doing so would devalue the German Masters extremely.One suggestion was that four players only have to play one qualifying match. After that, you would first play the first qualifying round completely. The top four who have reached the second round then play their next match in Berlin.
However, this has the disadvantage that the players who are not financially well off would have to stay for up to a week in the qualification and not just two days. They also say thank you in view of the costs incurred.
So it’s a dilemma. The only option I see right now is a staggered betting system similar to that of the World Championship or UK Championship. The top 16 would then be seeded for the final round and would definitely play in the Tempodrom. But that should raise concerns on the World Snooker Tour that this could be the beginning of the end of the flat draw.
I think Judd Trump’s suggestion to give the German Masters more event character through additional activities and attractions is very good. But you also have to consider that the foyer in the Tempodrom does not offer many spatial possibilities.But I’m sure of one thing: A cessation of the German Masters would be a disaster for snooker Germany.
But it would also be a serious setback for the World Snooker Tour in the internationalisation of the sport.
It’s certainly no coincidence that at this moment I’m thinking about how much we miss Brandon Parker.
Yours, Rolf Kalb
The green background has been added by me. Yes, this is indeed the only solution and by far the best format as the UK Championship has proven. I would be very happy to see the end of the flat draw for all tournaments except the British Open and the Home Nations. When/if snooker returns to China the tiered system should be the format as well.
I would however want to see that “qualifying week” systematically played just before the event and at or close to the main event location. I really want to see the end of the UK centric organisation of snooker. The dates would be known from the start of the season, with plenty of time to get the required documents (i.e VISAs) and organise the travels.
The form players would be at the main venue, instead those who were on form two months before the event. We wouldn’t have the absurd situation where young “local” players are offered a wildcard, allegedly to promote snooker “locally”, only to have to travel and lose in soulless qualifiers in the UK.
And if the calendar is planned properly, traveling can be limited by having a UK/Irish leg, a mainland Europe leg and an Asian leg. Yes, it will mean being away from home longer for the UK players, and it will be more expensive for them too. But, hey, that’s been the fate of everyone else until now, as under the current organisation, most non UK players have to live as ex-pats in the UK … Remember it’s called WORLD snooker.