World Snooker announces International Championship
The inuagural International Championship will be staged for the first time on October 8 to November 4 with £600,000 total prize money and with the winner to collect £125,000. It will have the same amount of ranking points as the UK Championship (8000) so it will be a huge event for the players.
From a World Snooker press release;
The event will be staged for the next five seasons folloiwing an agreement between World Snooker and CCTV Sports & Entertainment Co Ltd.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said "We are absolutely delighted to announce this fantastic new event, alongside CCTV who are a great partner with vast experience in television broadcast and events.
"The International Championship will be an outstanding addition to the calendar and will take snooker into a city which has never staged a professional event before, which will help the sport continue to grow in China.
"Next season there were two ranking events in China, next season there will be five. That shows the level of growth in the region and the hunger of the Chinese fans for more snooker. This tournament will really be something special."
China's top player Ding Junhui added: "It's great news for the players and the Chinese fans that we will have a new ranking tournament in China next season. It's another chance for our supporters there to watch the best players."
World no.12 Martin Gould said at the press conference at the Betfred.com World Snooker Championship "I'm sure all the players are looking forward to this new event.
"The prize money and the ranking points on offer for this tournament are brilliant and will provide that extra incentive for the players to do their best.
"It's always a privilege to travel to the China events, the fans are always fantastic there and are always extremely welcoming."
Martin Gould with World Snooker & CCTV officials at the International Open launch.
Although it is fantastic that this new event has increased prize money and ranking points I am disappointed that the format remains unchanged and stays mainly the same as the other Chinese events.
Like with the Shanghai Masters, Haikou World Open etc there will be 8 wildcards and the matches will be best of 9 at the start. There intention is to make it as prestigeous as the UK Championship or the Masters but unfortunately it can't be when you follow the same short formats as the other events.
Nevertheless it will undoubtedly be a fantastic event to watch (confirmed to be broadcasted on EuroSport) and with the increased prizes on offer we will be seeing the players trying their upmost to win the International Open.