Tickets for snooker’s Betfred World Championship in Sheffield have virtually sold out - only two months after Mark Selby beat Ding Junhui in the 2016 final.
A total global audiences for the tournament exceeded 300 million - 210 million of those in China.
Now organisers of next year’s tournament say they are delighted with the clamour for tickets for Selby’s defence.
The box office at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield opened in May, with the majority of seats for the 2017 event selling within a few hours.
Next year’s tournament runs from April 15-May 1 and there are only a few tickets remaining for selected sessions.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “Tickets for the World Championship are like gold dust. We recently announced a new deal to keep the event in Sheffield for another ten years.
“Anyone who has the opportunity to go to Sheffield and see the very best players on the planet competing for the biggest titles must take advantage.
“Snooker has developed into a huge global sport and British fans must realise how fortunate they are to have the biggest events on their doorstep.”
World number three Judd Trump is targeting glory in the biggest events in the coming season.
The Bristol cueman hasn’t reached the final of a Triple Crown tournament since winning the 2011 UK Championship.
“I feel as if I should have done better in the big tournaments last season,” said 26-year-old Trump. “I threw away the semi-final against Barry Hawkins at the Masters and collapsed against Liang Wenbo in the third round at the UK Championship. I won two tournaments last season but if I had knuckled down I might have won four or five.”
He added: “This season I’ll be playing in one or two fewer tournaments in order to be more focused at the biggest ones. I want to prepare for every tournament the way I do for the World Championship where I am 100 per cent prepared. If I am only 80 per cent then I am just going through the motions rather than concentrating on winning the trophy.
“I want to become a multiple winner of the UK Championship, while in the Masters I’ve never been to the final so that is one target. And obviously the World Championship is the one everyone wants to win the most.”