World Snooker Championship: Sheffield Council refuses to reveal 'staging fee' it pays to host tournament

Sheffield Council has refused to reveal the size of the ‘staging fee’ it pays for the city to host the World Snooker Championship.

By Robert Cumber
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 12:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 1:03 pm

The city council confirmed it does pay a staging fee to the tournament organisers World Snooker Limited, but claimed in response to a Freedom of Information request by The Star that the amount it pays could not be disclosed as this was comercially sensitive information.

When asked about the staging fee, a World Snooker Tour spokesman said: “We prefer not to comment on specifics of the agreement, other than to confirm that the current deal runs until 2027.”

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The World Snooker Championship has been staged at The Crucible theatre in Sheffield since 1977, but the current deal expires in 2027 (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

He also declined to say whether any other cities had expressed an interest in hosting the championship once the current deal expires.

He did, however, point to research published by Sheffield Hallam University in 2017 which estimated that hosting the tournament had boosted Sheffield’s economy by £100 million over the 40 years since the event was first staged at The Crucible in 1977.

That study found that spectators from outside Sheffield spend £1.8m each year in the city on accommodation, food and drink, shopping, local travel and other entertainment, and this, coupled with spending by players, the media, officials and the costs of running the championship generates an annual economic impact of £2.6m.

It also put the ‘place marketing value’ of the exposure Sheffield receives through global coverage of the tournament at £3.2m each year.

Responding to the FOI, the council also said there were no minutes of any meetings with World Snooker Limited about what happens after the current agreement ends, including the subject of alternative venues, as ‘formal negotiations have not started’.

It said: “The council does pay a staging fee to WSL for the championships. The amount of the staging fee and the arrangements for the use of the Crucible Theatre, is exempt information under section 43(2) of the Freedom of the Information Act 2000 (FOIA), because it would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the city council.”