There are twelve tournaments planned for after the completion of this week’s UK Championship.
The World Snooker Tour has revealed its provisional calendar for the second half of the 2020/21 season – with a new ranking event to launch in January.
The Pro Series will feature all 128 players on the Main Tour in a league format similar to that incorporated by the most recent version of the Championship League.
A total of 16 groups of eight competitors in each will compete in a round-robin guise, with matches lasting only three frames.
The 16 group winners will progress to another league stage, with the final two table-toppers to contest the final.
The WST Pro Series will have total prize money in excess of £300,000, and the winner will earn a place in the 2021 Champion of Champions.
World Snooker Tour Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are delighted to announce our updated calendar for the remainder of the 2020/21 season.
“Between January and May we will have ten tournaments, and in a spell of 121 days we have 109 days of scheduled live snooker.
“This is absolutely fantastic for the fans around the globe who have a relentless appetite for watching our sport on television and online, as well as the players who will be kept extremely busy competing for titles and prize money.
“I believe that snooker has adapted to the challenges posed by the current climate better than any other sport.
“In 2020 we will stage a total of 20 events, and this announcement keeps that momentum going into 2021.
“I am particularly pleased to reveal plans for the new WST Pro Series with an exciting format.
“In the group phase, players will have to contest seven matches in a single day so it will be a test of skill and stamina.
“This will be a ranking event so that all 128 tour players have the chance to battle for the inaugural WST Pro Series title.”
Running simultaneous to the new Pro Series will be yet another helping of the Championship League – meaning there will have been five short-formatted league events on the calendar in the space of a year.
There is no questioning the fact that the WST is in a tough spot at the moment and has done admirably well in putting on as much snooker as it has done this term – particularly for the players as they continue to earn a living from the sport.
The announcement that there will be no Chinese events staged for the remainder of this campaign is undoubtedly also a big blow to the sport, considering the wealthy purses those competitions carry.
But establishing tournaments that literally take months to complete, and which boast uninspiring formats, doesn’t appear to be an ideal way to keep fans interested.
These are hopefully going to be short-term absences from the calendar, why not try something different e.g. A PTC style tournament, holding the World Cup over here for one year, or hold a random pairs event with one Top 64 player paired with a 65-128 player.
— Matthew Lowson (@PLtheLegend) December 4, 2020
Meanwhile, the second half of the 2020/21 snooker calendar will see familiar ranking events return to the schedule – such as the Welsh Open and the German Masters, in addition to the Players and Tour Championships.
The World Snooker Championship is pencilled in for its regular slot in late-April and early-May.
It remains unclear, though, about the venues for each of these events, with next week’s Scottish Open and the upcoming World Grand Prix definitely still taking place at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Updated 2020/21 Snooker Calendar
7-13 Scottish Open, Milton Keynes
14-20 World Grand Prix, Milton Keynes
3–9 Championship League Stage One. Venue TBC
10-17 The Masters. Alexandra Palace, London
18-24 WST Pro Series rounds 1-7. Venue TBC
27-31 German Masters. Venue TBC
4-7 Shoot Out. Venue TBC
8-14 Championship League Stage Two. Venue TBC
15-21 Welsh Open. Venue TBC
22-28 Players Championship. Venue TBC
1-7 Gibraltar Open. Venue TBC
9-17 WST Pro Series rounds 8 – 16. Venue TBC
18-19 or 20-21 WST Pro Series final stages. Venue TBC
22-28 Tour Championship. Venue TBC
29-April 4 Championship League Stage Three. Venue TBC
7-14 Qualifiers: Betfred World Championship. English Institute of Sport – Sheffield
17-3 May Betfred World Championship. Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Featured photo credit: WST