ITV4 has signed a deal to broadcast World Snooker’s new Tour Championship event which will be staged for the first time in March 2019.
Featuring the leading eight players in the game from the one-year ranking list and after the seeding cut off point, the new tournament will run from 19-24 March with players competing for a top prize of £150,000.
The Tour Championship adds to ITV Sport’s portfolio of live snooker events, which incorporates the World Grand Prix, which is for the leading 32 players on the one year list, and the Players Championship which is for the top 16.
All three world ranking events will be televised by ITV4 for the next three years until 2020, in addition to it continued coverage of the Champion of Champions event every November, which the channel has shown since 2013.
However, ITV has dropped its coverage of the Snooker Shoot Out after three years on ITV4, with the tournament to be televised by Eurosport and its free-to-air sister station Quest from 2019 onwards.
Commenting on ITV4’s coverage of the new event, World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said:
“We are delighted to add the Tour Championship to our global calendar, it will be a highly prestigious event for the best players in the world.
“The race to qualify for this series of tournaments begins from the very first moment of the 2018/19 season, and every pound earned counts. All players will be striving throughout the season to move up the one-year ranking list and make it to these three crucial and highly lucrative events.
“We’re also thrilled to be working with ITV on this series for the next three years. They are a great team to work alongside, with fantastic production values. The viewing figures they receive for snooker are outstanding and growing year on year so their appetite for broadcasting our sport is growing in tandem. This is great news for snooker fans as the amount of coverage on television throughout the season continues to increase.”
ITV4’s coverage has been widely regarded by fans of the sport, with the ‘voice of snooker’ Clive Everton in the commentary box, and 7-time world champion Stephen Hendry, Neal Foulds and Alan McManus amongst the studio team, which is led by presenter Jill Douglas.
Venue details for the Tour Championship will be announced soon as will the full calendar for the 2018/19 season.
Click on the video below for a behind the scenes look at ITV’s snooker coverage.