Snooker to stay in Sheffield until at least 2027

Ding Junhui at the table in his match against Mark Williams during day eleven of the Betfred Snooker World Championships at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday April 26, 2016. See PA story SNOOKER World. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
Ding Junhui at the table in his match against Mark Williams during day eleven of the Betfred Snooker World Championships at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday April 26, 2016. See PA story SNOOKER World. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
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Sheffield is to retain World Championship snooker for at least another ten years.

The tournament will remain at its spiritual home of The Crucible until 2027 - bringing an estimated £50m boost to the local economy.

Chairman of the World Professional  Billiards and Snooker Association Barry Hearn during day twelve of the Betfred World Championships at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday April 29, 2015. See PA story SNOOKER World. Photo credit should read: Simon Cooper/PA Wire

Chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association Barry Hearn during day twelve of the Betfred World Championships at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday April 29, 2015. See PA story SNOOKER World. Photo credit should read: Simon Cooper/PA Wire

The Crucible’s contract to host the event had been due to expire next year and with competition from other countries, including China, to take over the event there had been concerns Sheffield’s long-standing link to the sport could come to an end.

But World Snooker and Sheffield Council have agreed a deal to keep the blue riband event in South Yorkshire - fighting off competition from what officials described as a ‘host of major international cities’.

The tournament is watched by over 350 million people across the planet in 89 different countries.

World Snooker chief Barry Hearn said that despite The Crucible’s limited capacity of less than 1,000 people, it had been a simple decision to keep the tournament in the venue that has been its home since 1977.

He said: “The atmosphere is wonderful, no other event in the world has hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide but only has 980 viewers live.

“That is what makes us British, doing weird and wonderful things.”

He said the new contract represents a ‘very good deal’ for Sheffield and the sport, with the tournament marking its 50th anniversary of being held at The Crucible in 2027.

The new deal also includes an International Trade partnership which will see the city promoting itself to investors and future international students at over 17 events on the World Snooker Tour held outside the UK.

The announcement was made ahead of the final session in this year’s tournament, where Mark Selby is up against China’s Ding Junhui, the first Asian player to reach the final.