Asian online gaming operator 12Bet.com has secured title sponsorship for the 2010 snooker World Open.
The one-year deal has been finalised on the eve of this year’s tournament, which starts on Saturday 18th September. The deal will see the nine-day tournament at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow renamed the 12Bet World Open. The five-year gaming license was granted to Pacific Sea Invests S.A, operator of 12Bet.com by the Gambling Supervision Commission on August 10th.
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said of the deal: “This is a fantastic piece of news for our sport at just the right time. We’ve made giant strides forward in the commercial success of snooker in recent months and this keeps the momentum going. The new World Open, with a new format, new venue, and new arena, is one of the cornerstones of the new era so we’re thrilled to have a title sponsor on board. With over 50 hours coverage on BBC and a combined global audience reaching over 100 million, the tournament will give vast exposure to 12bet.com’s brand so it’s easy to see their motivation behind getting involved with snooker. We hope they enjoy what should be a great tournament and look forward to building a strong relationship with them.”
Rory Anderson, 12Bet.com’s chief executive officer for Europe, added: “We are delighted to add the World Open to our fast growing sponsorship portfolio. This event will give our brand fantastic exposure not only in the UK but throughout Europe. We are glad to be on board and are excited about the new best of five format.”
The World Open was created in 1982 and is currently broadcasted live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Red Button, British Eurosport, British Eurosport 2 and European Eurosport. The world ranking event will feature star players such as Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Jimmy White, Mark Selby and current world champion Neil Robertson. The event carries a total prize fund of £502,500 (US$775,413) with the winner to receive £100,000 (US$154,421). The 2009 tournament saw Australian snooker player Neil Robertson defeat Ding Junhui 9–4 to become world champion.