World Snooker 2020-21: Star Sports as the official broadcaster, however, the body is looking for a new broadcast partner
UK based World Snooker which holds annual tourneys such as China Open, is all set to bring India Open to the country, next year, in a big avatar. The international snooker body has roped in India Business Group (IBG) as its strategic partner in addition to tying up the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI), the governing body. “Over the next five years, we don’t aim to generate any revenue from India, instead it will be an investment period,” Miles Pearce, commercial director, World Snooker, told BrandWagon Online. The international body claims to have invested about £1 million.
Additionally, the company is in talks with IMG Reliance for broadcast rights. Currently, Star Sports – the sports channel run by Walt Disney Company India is the official broadcaster of the tourney. “We are looking to ink a fresh deal with a broadcaster to telecast the matches. The ultimate aim is to increase the distribution of the tournament. Moreover, we have been doing Facebook Live, as an exercise to understand how we can increase reach,” Pearce explained. Additionally, IBG claims to be in talks with a host of luxury brands, besides financial services firms for sponsorship. According to Pearce, the aim is to rope six to seven brands as sponsors.
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At an international level, the World Snooker Tour reaches 1.6 billion households, revealed the international body. The body claims that it has 500 million dedicated viewers. The tourney has garnered 509 million online video views. It claims to have gathered 40 million online visits.
With the tourney, World Snooker wants to tap into 2.5 million Indians, who play the game. For Pearce, China over the years has turned into a big market for World Snooker. “In less than 10 years the prize money has increased to little under £16 million from just £3.5 million. Also, in terms of scale, six events are held in China and every tournament has about 10-15 sponsors,” he explained.
Meanwhile in India, the international body is also looking to create a snooker facility in one of the smart cities. World Snooker claims to have created Snooker City at Shangroa, Yushan, in China.