Wuxi Classic becomes ranking event
The Wuxi Classic, a minor event held in China, will become a ranking event on the snooker calendar from 2012/13.
The tournament will run from June 25 to July 1 and will be the first ranking event of the new season.
It has been a regular fixture on the calendar since 2008, initially as an invitation tournament, and has now been given full ranking status. It will be one of five ranking events in China next season.†
Total prize money for the event this year will be £400,000, rising to £425,000 next year then £450,000 for the following three years.
Wuxi, located in the Jiangsu Province, is known as one of the most beautiful cities in China and is the home town of the country’s top player Ding Junhui. The city has a purpose-built stadium for snooker tournaments.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are delighted to welcome the Wuxi Classic to our family of world ranking events in China.
"This is a wonderful example of an invitation event attended by the top players, opening the door for a full ranking event.
“We have built an excellent relationship with the CBSA and that has been fundamental to our success. China is a rapidly expanding market and we are going where the demand is because this game belongs to the world.
"There were five Chinese players in the World Championship this year and there are many more waiting in the wings.”
The qualifying rounds of the tournament will run from June 5 to 8 at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield.
Further news on the future of snooker events came at the Crucible when it was revealed that the Masters will be staged at Alexandra Palace for the next three years.
A new agreement between World Snooker and the north London venue will see the tournament staged there until at least 2015.
Hearn said: “We are thrilled to sign this new three year agreement to keep the Masters at Alexandra Palace. It is a fantastic venue and moving this elite invitation event there was a spectacular success.
"I have no doubt that the fans will flock to north London again to see the very best players in the world.”
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Alexandra Palace, said: “We are very proud that Alexandra Palace will host the Masters for the next three years. It is a superb reflection of the event we created with World Snooker 2012, and we will continue to build on that success.
"We look forward to hosting and working with the players and the World Snooker team, to create the best atmosphere for the tournament.”†
The Masters, which features the world’s top 16 players and boasts a top prize of £150,000, moved to Ally Pally this year and proved a resounding success in terms of ticket sales.
And also following record ticket sales, the UK Championship will be staged at the York Barbican for the next two years.†
In 2011 the UK Championship was held at York Barbican for the first time since 2006.
A new deal between World Snooker and SMG Europe means that the £625,000 tournament will be held there until at least 2013.
Title-holder Judd Trump said: “I’m really pleased that the UK Championship is going back to York. I thought the atmosphere there last year was amazing and it helped inspire me to win the title. There are a lot of snooker fans in and around York and I’m sure they’ll be back this year to support the best players.”
Hearn added: “Our decision to take the UK Championship back to York last season was inspired. There is a huge amount of enthusiasm for snooker in York and the surrounding area and the top players love the Barbican.
"We’re delighted to sign this deal for the next two years and looking forward to December.”
†James Allen of SMG Europe, who manage and operate the venue, said: “We’re delighted the UK Championship is returning to the York Barbican following last December’s successful homecoming.†
“After an absence of five years from the city, the support shown by the people of York has been nothing short of exceptional, as witnessed by last year’s recording breaking ticket sales.
“We are now building on the success of our partnership with World Snooker to position the York UK Championship as one of the highlights on the national sporting calendar for 2012 and beyond.”