Ronnie is Eurosport’s Sports Personality of the 2020 year

Eurosport have run their own poll about sports personalities of the year 2020 and here are the results:

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN WINS EUROSPORT SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR

Ronnie O’Sullivan has won the Eurosport British Sportsperson of the Year. Marcus Rashford was recognised for his deeds on and off the pitch, and Formula One record-breaker Lewis Hamilton placed third. Read on for the rest of the placings for the remaining five spots voted for by you. 

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Ronnie O’Sullivan was the overwhelming winner of Eurosport’s British Sportsperson of the Year.

The 44-year-old snooker legend received almost half (44%) of the total votes cast, shared between eight of the best of British sport.

2020 was the year when O’Sullivan finally ended his wait of seven years for another World Championship, beating Ding Junhui, Mark Williams, Mark Selby and Kyren Wilson along the way.

In second place was Marcus Rashford (15%), who earned his recognition for his activity off the pitch as much as his deeds on it. Rashford was at the heart of a campaign to secure vulnerable British children free school meals over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, in the face of sustained opposition from the British government.

Rashford also has 21 goals in the 2020 calendar year and is on course to beat his 22-goal record if he continues his current scoring rate for the 2020/21 season. He also has received an MBE for his services to children, aged just 23.

In third (12%), Lewis Hamilton won his fourth consecutive drivers’ championship – his seventh so far – and broke Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 Grand Prix victories. Away from the track, he donated to help fight back against the damage done by wildfires in Australia, and spearheaded the Black Lives Matter movement amongst the Formula One paddock.

Jonathan Rea placed fourth (9%) after another dominant season in the World Superbike championship. The Northern Ireland racer was on every podium but one after the coronavirus-enforced restart, and won his sixth straight world championship.

In joint fourth (also 9%) was Judd Trump. While O’Sullivan won the Worlds, Trump pulled off victories in the Northern Ireland Open, the English Open, the Gibraltar Open, Players Championship and German Masters. At just 31 there is almost certainly much more to come.

Sixth place went to football Lucy Bronze (5%), who enjoyed another superb season. The 29-year-old England international won the Champions League and French domestic double with Lyon, and then moved back to the Women’s Super League to join Manchester City in September.

Tao Geoghegan Hart (3%) capped a fine year off with his seventh place recognition. After Geraint Thomas had to withdraw from Team Ineos’ Giro d’Italia challenge, it was the 25-year-old rider who stepped up to shock almost everyone to seize victory. In what may be a less frenetic season in 2021, there is no clear limit to his potential.

Fellow cyclist Lizzie Deignan also impressed, and earned an eight place spot (2%) after topping the UCI World Rankings, in part due to victories at La Course and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

RESULTS

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan – 44%
  • Marcus Rashford – 15%
  • Lewis Hamilton – 12%
  • Jonathan Rea – 9%
  • Judd Trump – 9%
  • Lucy Bronze – 5%
  • Tao Geoghegan Hart – 3%
  • Lizzie Deignan – 2%

Congratulations Ronnie!

I believe that Ronnie’s emphatic win as well as Judd Trump’s presence as 5th in the list shows that Eurosport, not BBC, is now the main snooker channel, even in the UK. It really has become the “House of Snooker”. Well done Eurosport!

Why you should vote for Ronnie at SPOTY today if you have the opportunity

Over the last weeks, since Ronnie has been nominated for SPOTY, the sport’s gouverning body has actively encouraged fans to vote for him. There have been other player’s interviews, articles and mentions in commentary.

This is the latest piece, by David Hendon:

O’Sullivan A ‘Figurehead For Snooker’

Journalist and commentator David Hendon believes that Ronnie O’Sullivan has had a huge impact on snooker’s global popularity and his nomination for BBC Sports Personality of the Year is well overdue.

O’Sullivan has won 37 ranking titles and 20 Triple Crown events in a remarkable career, and this year became World Champion for the sixth time. For the first time, he is on the shortlist for the BBC award, alongside Lewis Hamilton, Hollie Doyle, Stuart Broad, Jordan Henderson and Tyson Fury.

You can vote for O’Sullivan this Sunday (December 20th) by telephone or online. For details of how to vote on the night, click here.

Hendon, who commentates for broadcasters including Eurosport and ITV, said: “It is long overdue when you consider his achievements over the past 30 years. A lot of us thought that it would happen in 2013 when he won the World Championship after a year off. There is a lot happening in the world of sport every year so it is difficult to get on to that shortlist. But when you look at what he has achieved in snooker – which is so popular on television – it’s amazing it has taken this long. Thank goodness he is on it this year.

David Hendon

“For many new fans of snooker he is a gateway into it. They might be flicking through the channels late at night, might have never seen snooker before. If he is playing, there is something about him as a character which draws people in. A lot of fans say that the first player they enjoy watching is Ronnie, and then they become interested in the sport. There was a guy from Kyrgyzstan the other day tweeting about the fact that he can’t play snooker in his country, but he loves watching Ronnie play. He is a worldwide figure, and a figurehead for snooker.

“He is a bit of a veteran now and you wouldn’t expect kids aged 12 or 13 to look up to someone of that age. But he doesn’t seem like a veteran because he is still playing the same type of attractive snooker he has always done, albeit with a bit more discipline in his game which is why he has stayed at the top level.

“The fact that he won the World Championship at the age of 44 is incredible. You can’t compare him to many other sportsmen in terms of how long he has been at the top – perhaps Phil Taylor in darts. You look at the players Ronnie has competed against – when he started, Steve Davis and Jimmy White were still top players. Then there was Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams, and now he is competing against the newer players like Judd Trump. His longevity is phenomenal.”

Even if you don’t like Ronnie, you should vote for him tonight if you can.
Why? Because it’s not about him, it’s about snooker and its status as a sport. 

When snooker was at its most popular, between 1981 and 1990, it got into the “last three” on seven occasions. Steve Davis is the only snooker player who ever won it, in 1988, but he made it to the last three on five occasions, finishing second in 1981 and 1987, third in 1984 and 1989. This is a record that he shares only with Lewis Hamilton. Other than that theere were second places for Alex Higgins (1982) and Stephen Hendry (1990). Since then? Nothing,

It’s been thirthy years. For whatever reason snooker has been snubbed, seen as some second rate sport, if a sport at all.  Countless times, BBC has “cut” live snooker matches broadcasting in favour of pre-recorded programs or re-runs of previously shown content.

If you love your snooker, this is an opportunity to bring it in the spotligths again. 

VOTE for SNOOKER

Championship League Snooker – Sponsor and how to watch

BetVictor will be the title sponsor for the event.

Matchroom Multi Sport is pleased to announce that BetVictor, a leading online gambling company, will be the title sponsor of the next two stagings of the BetVictor Championship League Snooker, which begins at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes on Sunday, September 13th.

Following the unprecedented success of this summer’s Championship League, the event has been expanded to a full WST ranking event featuring 128 players over 21 days, split into three weeks across September and October.

The popular group format employed during the summer’s Championship League returns, with players split into 32 four-man groups for Stage One and prize money standing at £328,000. World No.1 Judd Trump gets the tournament underway on September 13, while newly crowned six-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan enters the fray as the second seed on October 5th.

Matchroom Multi Sport Managing Director Emily Frazer said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with BetVictor once again. We have a strong, well-established relationship with BetVictor having worked with them across a number of Matchroom Multi Sport events, including last season’s Championship League Snooker.

“This new agreement builds upon their support of snooker and we’re thrilled to be able to work alongside BetVictor with a longer-term commitment for the next two Championship League Snooker events.”

BetVictor Director of Sportsbook Matt Scarrott added: “It’s a pleasure to team up with Matchroom Multi Sport again and we’re really looking forward to what should be a fantastic tournament. There’s plenty riding on it for the players with the Championship League Snooker now a full WST ranking event and we’re expecting three weeks of exciting, high-quality, quick-fire action.”

And how/where to watch has been announced.

BetVictor Championship League Snooker will be broadcast live around the world, with two tables of action to be enjoyed every day.

The first two weeks will be broadcast globaly on the below platforms, with FREE UK coverage at  Matchroom.Live

Table One
Viaplay – Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland
Zhibo.TV – China (including Hong Kong, Macau & Taiwan)
SportKlub – Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Luxembourg
Silknet – Georgia
TV Poland
NTV – Russia
Rest of the World – Matchroom.Live

Table Two
Zhibo.TV – China (including Hong Kong, Macau & Taiwan)
Rest of the World – Matchroom.Live

So, unfortunately, nothing changes. The sponsor is again a betting/gaming company, and because it is specifically specified that the coverage will be free in the UK, I can only suppose that the rest of the World will have to pay.

This, once again, shows that, although snooker has the ambition to be a global sport, it remains in so many ways strongly UK centered. OK, this is a matchroom event, but it counts as a WST – WORLD Snooker Tour – ranking event. Because of the history of the sport, and because England still accounts for about half of the main tour, and China is the second best represented nation, you would expect that the majority of viewers would be in the UK and China. So this decision is hard to explain by the “costs” aspect, as it’s free for them. New viewers and new fans are more likely to come from the “Rest of the World”, those for whom it’s not free. That doesn’t make sense to me in terms of promoting the sport globally.

.Any chance to reconsider Matchroom? 

The Chalk – issue 5 – is out.

HigginsChalk

“The Chalk” is a free online magazine, written by people who just love their cue sports.

Issue 5 is out today and I have contributed to it with reviews of the 2020 World Snooker Championship and the 2020 World Seniors Snooker Championship. But there is much more to it. Barry Stark, who coaches Kyren Wilson, shares his experience and knowledge on video, Rodney Goggins remembers “Team Events”, Tom Moorcroft talks about Ronnie speed record, Snookerbacker shares his highlights of the championship and life as usual gets in the way of snooker for Max Potter. Enjoy!

You can subscribe to The Chalk here and it will be delivered to your mailbox.

Whilst still waiting for the draw … a very bad news and a podcast

Let’s start with the bad news, and, if confirmed it’s VERY bad news.

Apparently, the China govt has published an advice/recommendation/law – I’m not sure how to name this – on July 6 that basically means that there will be no International sporting event of any kind allowed in China, hence no snooker tournaments in China until 2021 the earliest.

Here is the source:

Screenshot 2020-07-10 at 09.11.23ChinaGovtAdviceScreenshot 2020-07-10 at 09.11.00

I don’t understand any Chinese but I have no reason to doubt this is genuine.

That means that the idea to have a string of Chinese ranking events at the start of the next season is as good as ruled out, and there would be no Shanghai Masters either. This may hit the game hard, because the Chinese events are actually more lucrative in general than the European ones. It’s a big loss of revenues for the payers. It could probably impact the perception and broadcasting of snooker in China as well, and with it the financial support China gives to the sport.

If this decision is extended further in 2021, it could be a disaster. If not, then, WST will probably have to rethink the calendar, pushing events that are usually played early in the season, after the new year. It will probably also have an impact on the Champion of Champions criteria.

And them we have another David Hendon and Michael McMullan podcast. They answer fans’ questions – there are some interesting ones – then turn to discussing the “Crucible Curse” and why it’s no curse.

davehendon · Snooker Scene Podcast episode 115 – Be Here Now