Sheffield came close to losing the World Snooker Championships, the city council's chief executive has revealed as he estimated this year's tournament would bring in around £5 million to the city's economy.
John Mothersole said the tournament, which has been held at The Crucible since 1977, was watched by a global audience of 330 million each year and 43,000 tickets sold so quickly that it crashed the booking system.
Mr Mothersole said: "By the standards of any sporting event, a 40+ years unbroken relationship with one place is remarkable. It is hard to be certain how close we ever came to losing it. Having been on the inside track of the negotiations to keep it here there have certainly been opportunities for it to go elsewhere, globally, but each time we have won.
"The current 10-year deal though is brilliant as it settles everything down and we can focus on what really matters which is the snooker.
"But, to Sheffield, it is more than a game, and the statistics are staggering – 43,000 tickets sold so quickly that the computer system went into meltdown and 80 per cent of that 43,000 are sold to people outside of our city.
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"For the BBC, this event is second only to Wimbledon. 4 million UK viewers will watch the final live. Over 80 counties will be watching it (and therefore watching Sheffield). That’s a global audience of 330 million. Over 60 million people in China watched the semi-finals live in 2016.
"By anybody’s standards these figures are huge. They amount to nearly £5 million of value every year to Sheffield as well as the intangible benefits of the feel good factor."
The tournament runs at the Crucible Theatre until Monday, May 7.