2017 is only a day old but it’s straight into the action as this season’s Championship League gets under way at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
Indeed, the schedule is pretty unforgiving from now until the campaign’s conclusion at the Crucible for the blue riband World Championship in April and May.
Celebrating its 10th year, the Championship League is an invitational event streamed live on various online bookmaker websites.
The series initially features seven group stages played across two days, each incorporating seven players who will play one another once in a short best of five format.
The top four players from each group move into the knockout phase, where a group winner is ultimately determined.
These seven group winners subsequently compete in a final Winners’ Group, in which the emerging victor gains an invite into the lucrative Champion of Champions at the end of the year.
The Championship League has had its detractors but for the players invited to compete it is a good opportunity to play competitive snooker while also potentially being a nice earner.
Money is awarded for each frame won while bonuses are then given for reaching the play-off stages of each group, with the stakes then increased for the Winners’ Group in March.
Group One on Monday and Tuesday includes Anthony McGill, Ryan Day, David Gilbert, Matthew Selt, Ben Woollaston, Mark Davis and Robert Milkins.
Might be interesting to write an article breaking down the calendar for top 16 players, top 32, and the rest? Seems the season is padded throughout with invitational events, mostly based on ranking, Masters, Champions League, Grand Prix, Players Championship, Champion of Champions, the new 200k Chinese invitational, and others? And put together a separate money table for events not counting towards rankings, to see how much the higher ranked players really are making. Presume Selby’s ~£1m over 2 years is not counting invitationals?
The Grand Prix and Players Championship are ranking events, and it is expected the China Championship will be one next season as well open to the 128 players. There are quite a few invitationals but I think that’s fair. There are already 19 ranking events this season after all.
But you’re right, a total money list of all events would be interesting, and certainly it’d put Selby well over £1m. Will have a look at some stage when I get a chance.
Yes, the GP and PC count towards the rankings, but they are invitational, based on your performance that season. They are kind of weird hybrid tournaments that count towards rankings but are not open to all, sort of boosters for the top 32 to widen the gap between them and the rest. I guess that’s what I meant by a ‘3-tier’ calendar – top 16, top 32 and the rest.