When we first began watching snooker on TV in 1969 with a programme called pot black, things began to change drastically for the game of snooker. There is little doubt in my mind that snooker would not be where it is today without Sir David Attenborough who was the person who made the decision to start televising the game.
The first introduction of snooker on TV was because of the new color technology that was being introduced in Britain in the late 1960’s and because snooker uses a variety of colors, David Attenbourough (head of BBC2 at the time) decided snooker would be a brilliant way to showcase this brand new technology. The variety of colours on a snooker table from the green baize to the different ball colours made snooker a perfect choice for testing colour tv.
On the 23rd of July 1969, pot black was launched on BBC2 and so snooker on TV was born. Pot black was a programme which showed a variety of different snooker tournaments and ran until 1993. Later in it’s history Pot Black was turned into a game show style program which was also popular but soon replaced by other Saturday evening entertainment shows.
When snooker began to dominate sport in the 80’s, there was more and more snooker on TV. The world championships, the Masters and the UK championships being the largest and the most popular tournaments.
If we compare them times to today times, snooker has much more of a presence on TV than ever before. Lots of broadcasters now show snooker on TV including BBC, ITV and Eurosport. The popularity of snooker has grown significantly in the past number of years and snooker now has a worldwide reach.
BBC show the world snooker championships, the Masters, the UK championships and the Welsh open, Eurosport show almost all snooker events and ITV (although a latecomer) have their own separate events such as the shootout, players championship, champion of champions and grand prix. There are also a number of other events shown on TV and with a busy tour schedule, snooker is better placed now than it ever has been before.
Because the snooker on TV is so frequent, the game has become more and more popular and the future is looking bright for our sport. The 2016 world championships alone saw more than 300 million people tune in from Asia which is a staggering number of people. And whats more, the more snooker on TV, the more people want to play which makes the standard improve greatly.
Eventually snooker will grow to a staggering TV reach of over 2 billion people if we include Europe, Asia and America. As the sport grows so will the coverage and quality of coverage from broadcasters.
So thanks to BBC trying out snooker on TV using the new color technology in the 60’s, our sport now has a global presence and is here to stay by all accounts.