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Championship League to Offer Worldwide Snooker Coverage

The first snooker event since the middle of March is set to get under way on June 1st in Milton Keynes.

Worldwide snooker coverage will be made available when the Championship League commences on Monday at the Marshall Arena.

The non-ranking tournament marks the sport’s return to action for the first time since COVID-19 halted regularity at the start of this year.

A total of 64 players are set to compete for the top prize, with world champion Judd Trump and fellow Englishman Ronnie O’Sullivan among those who have entered.

ITV had already been confirmed as the host broadcaster in the UK and Ireland, but snooker’s reach will go far and beyond as it hopes to capitalise on the barren sports schedule.

Eurosport has gained the rights to show coverage throughout the continent of Europe, while new streaming platform Matchroom.Live will screen the matches across the Americas, Africa, and parts of Asia.

Matchroom Sport, the sports promotion agency led by World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn, has run the Championship League event since its inaugural staging in 2008.

Registering an account at Matchroom.Live is currently available for free, so Hearn will be hoping to tap into new markets and garner fresh interest from the worldwide snooker coverage.

Hearn said: “This is the first taster of what Matchroom.Live will provide year-round; live coverage of major sport from across our group in territories where the event isn’t otherwise being broadcast.”

“Safety is our highest priority on this event and it is thanks to our hard work and dedication that we are in a position for televised snooker action to return; the first major sporting event in the UK to do so.”

Eurosport can be accessed via a subscription while ITV, which will begin its daily coverage at 2:50pm on ITV4, is a free-to-air channel across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The Championship League, which was won by Scott Donaldson in March, boasts a slightly different format from previous editions.

The first phase will include all 64 players being separated into 16 groups of four, with three points awarded for a win and one point for a draw.

Only two groups – so eight players – will take part on each of the first eight days, with the action taking place on two tables.

The 16 group winners will subsequently advance to phase two, in which there will be four further groups of four players.

Those subsequent winners will proceed to a final group, where £30,000 is on offer for the champion on June 11th.

Players will have to adhere to strict rules and guidelines throughout the competition in order to minimise the risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus.

All competitors and staff working at the venue must also be tested for COVID-19 before the tournament begins.

Many feel that this event will act as a basic practice run ahead of the more serious World Snooker Championship in July and August.

Featured photo credit: WST

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