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Snooker- competitions



Professional snooker players can play on the World Snooker main tour ranking circuit. Ranking points, earned by players through their performances over the previous two seasons, determine the current world ranking. A player's ranking determines what level of qualification he or she requires for ranking tournaments. The elite of professional snooker is generally regarded as the "Top 16" ranking players, who are not required to pre-qualify for any of the tournaments. The tour contains 96 players – the top 64 from the previous two seasons, the 8 highest ranked professional players on the Players Tour Championship Order of Merit who are not in the top 64, 12 players from the Q School, and various regional, junior and amateur champions.


The most important event in professional snooker is the World Championship, held annually since 1927 (except during World War II and between 1958 and 1963). The tournament has been held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England since 1977, and was sponsored by Embassy from 1976 to 2005. Since 2005, tobacco companies have not been allowed to sponsor sporting events in the United Kingdom, and the World Championship had to find a new sponsor. It was announced in January 2006 that the 2006–2010 world championships would be sponsored by online casino 888. The Championship is currently sponsored by BetFred after 888 pulled out of their five year sponsorship deal after three years. On 15 April 2009 the World Snooker Championship website announced that Betfred would be the new sponsor of the World Championship for the next four years.


The status of winning the World Championship is great, and it is the most highly valued prize in professional snooker, both in terms of financial reward (£300,000 for the winner, formerly £250,000) as well as ranking points and prestige. The World Championship is televised extensively in the UK by the BBC and gains significant coverage in Europe on Eurosport and in the Far East.


The group of tournaments that come next in importance are the other ranking tournaments. Players in these tournaments score world ranking points. A high ranking ensures qualification for next year's tournaments, invitations to invitational tournaments and an advantageous draw in tournaments. The most prestigious of these after the World Championship is the UK Championship. Third in line are the invitational tournaments, to which most of the highest ranked players are invited. The most important tournament in this category is The Masters, which to most players is the second or third most sought-after prize.


In an attempt to answer criticisms that televised matches can be slow or get bogged down in lengthy safety exchanges and that long matches causes problems for advertisers, an alternative series of timed tournaments has been organised by Matchroom Sport Chairman Barry Hearn. The shot-timed Premier League Snooker was established, with seven players invited to compete at regular United Kingdom venues, televised on Sky Sports. Players have twenty-five seconds to take each shot, with five time-outs per player per match. While some success has been achieved with this format, it generally does not receive the same amount of press attention or status as the regular ranking tournaments.


There are also other tournaments that have less importance, earn no world ranking points and are not televised. These can change on a year-to-year basis depending on calendars and sponsors.




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