Barry Hearn, World snooker chairman was at the crucible theatre today to make announcements to the media about changes to next season for snooker uk.
Hearn said, the snooker uk masters trophy will be renamed to the Paul Hunter trophy in memory of Paul Hunter who died in 2006.
World snooker says the total prize pot for next season will increase to £10 million.
There will be 18 ranking title events in the 2016/17 season.
Hearn said: “This year we acknowledge and remember ten years since the passing of Paul Hunter. A sad loss for the game, a talent that was mercurial. When people talk about personality in sport, Paul Hunter had it in spades. The Masters trophy will be renamed the Paul Hunter Trophy in memory of Paul and I think snooker fans around the world will appreciate that gesture to a great, great player.”
On next season’s plans for world snooker he added: “We will have 18 ranking events and that is scheduled to grow to a minimum of 20. And for the first time in the history of snooker we will hit our prize money target of £10 million, which again over the next few years is set to grow dramatically.
“The opportunities for sports people at the top end are growing. We are obviously a sport that has led from the front. The winners’ rewards are growing dramatically because that is how sport is working. We are aware of our responsibilities to all professional snooker players to give them the opportunity to show their talent. It is not and never will be a sponsored boy’s club. It’s tough and we have seen in this tournament already how tough the competition is so far as five of the top 16 have already fallen in the first round. Players coming from the qualifying rounds have emerged through a brutal test and I find it fascinating to listen to the arguments of both sides as to the fairness of that. It is a brutally open system where the best shall survive.”
Hearn also talked about his good snooker uk friend Steve Davis
He said: “I have been honoured to manage the career of Steve Davis for 40 years. I don’t think there is anyone that has ever had such a period of time representing one individual sportsman, except perhaps Mark McCormack with Arnold Palmer. I was in America on Sunday but what I saw on TV was the most amazing, emotional response of love from snooker fans and world snooker players towards an all-time great. The pictures I saw gave me a lump in my throat, it was a fantastic reception.”