Jan 22 (Reuters) - This year's China Open will become only the second snooker tournament after the world championship to offer one million pounds ($1.39 million) in prize money following a new four-year deal with its promoters, the organisers have announced.
The amount is nearly double the money offered last year when Mark Selby beat Mark Williams in the final to claim 85,000 pounds.
The new deal with Star Xing Pai and Beijing Fuhua Culture Tourism Development Ltd. Co means the winner of the Apr. 1-8 event will pocket 225,000 pounds which is second only to the 425,000 pounds offered to the world champion.
"This is a fantastic announcement which establishes the China Open in Beijing as the flagship tournament in Asia," World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said in a statement.
"This is a great deal for the players, whose earning opportunities have never been better, and the fans, who have this superb event secured for the next four years."
Ding Junhui won the 2005 title to trigger China's interest in snooker and this year's tournament, featuring an extended best-of-21-frame final, will be televised by CCTV and Eurosport, among other broadcasters.
($1 = 0.7208 pounds) (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien)