World Snooker signs Indian development deal, unveils Masters ‘luxury experience’

Judd Trump poses with the trophy following his win in The 2019 Dafabet Masters Final over Ronnie O'Sullivan (by Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images)

World Snooker has furthered its efforts to promote the sport in India by agreeing a partnership with the India Business Group (IBG), while it has also revealed details of a new “luxury experience” for its Masters tournament.

IBG is an advisory consultancy that specialises in helping organisations develop bilateral trade and investment opportunities between the UK/EU and India markets. IBG will focus on helping World Snooker increase the numbers who play the game as well as creating more interest at all levels of Indian society.

As part of the collaboration, IBG will assist in the promotion of the Indian Open, an annual professional ranking tournament which will next take place in March 2020. The Indian Open was first staged in New Delhi in 2013. This year’s tournament was held in the port city of Kochi, with England’s Matthew Selt winning his first world-ranking snooker title since turning pro 13 years ago.

World Snooker’s tie up with IBG comes after it last month broadened its association with social media platform Facebook by announcing that a number of its major events will this season be streamed free to fans in India via Facebook Live.

IBG chair, Lord Patel of Bradford, said: “If there’s one country which can take a sport and create a global brand, it’s India. Just look at what the IPL (Indian Premier League) has contributed to cricket.

“At the moment, an estimated 2.5 million Indians play snooker in India.  With its strong historical links to India, where the sport was invented in 1875 in Jabalpur, and with 600 million people estimated to be under 25, it has to be the perfect place for market growth.”

World Snooker’s commercial director, Miles Pearce, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with IBG at a time when both of our respective organisations are hosting world class events aimed at promoting closer bilateral relations between the UK and India.

“We look forward to working with IBG to help take snooker to new heights across the country and to replicate the success we have had in both Europe and the People’s Republic of China.”

Meanwhile, the 2020 Masters, which takes place at Alexandra Palace in London from January 12-19, will feature a range of VIP packages which World Snooker states will provide the ultimate setting to enjoy a major sporting event.

The arena layout has been reconfigured for one of the sport’s elite Triple Crown events. Billed as the most comfortable seat in the house, a total of 24 VIP Booths will be offered starting at £279 (€325/$358) per session. The package entitles the spectator to sit in bespoke luxury lounge style seating with various other perks included.

The Century Club aims to offer an opportunity which World Snooker believes cannot be beaten in any sport. Limited to 40 packages and starting at £355, it includes seating in a new and exclusive, soundproof corporate suite, VIP parking within the Alexandra Palace grounds, a dining area with viewing over the arena and a Champagne reception upon arrival.

World Snooker event director Donna Beresford said: “The Masters has always been one of our flagship events but in recent years we have seen dramatic growth in demand for tickets as sports fans recognise it as something very special.

“We’ve put a lot of consideration into how we can keep the event growing and offer something unique to those who want a ‘bucket list’ experience, or to entertain clients in a stunning environment, or perhaps give a once-in -a-lifetime gift to someone who loves the sport. These new VIP Booth and Century Club experiences offer just that kind of upgraded opportunity.

“We believe that the status of the Masters will keep growing and it will become one of the biggest ‘go to’ events in sport.”