Post a reply

Barry Hearn answers questions on TSF

Postby Roland

For those of you who are unable to read content on snookers worst forum, these are questions put to Barry Hearn by the users and his answers. Needless to say, when this site starts doing interviews, content will not be blocked to others as we're all in this together <ok>

Originally Posted by crucible77
When it says Academy on the calndar for qualifiers etc, does that mean that the EIS Hall that the previous qualifiers have been held, or the actual academy that can hardly fit 3 people in?
No it means the Academy only where I hope with a few design changes we can fit more than three people!

We will use the Academy primarily for qualification rounds, Q School and early rounds of new tournaments. We are paying a lot of money for the Academy and it has to be utilized in the most cost effective way.

Originally Posted by snooky147
Re The World Open. A £500,000 tournament, ranking I presume. If so how does he justify making such an event the best of five. Players travelling to Sheffield for a tournament that could be over by the time their ice melts in their glass. If you want to save time lose the mid session intervals at best of nines or at least give everyone a fighting chance by making it the best of seven.
Otherwise I like your proposals.

PS. Internet streaming and/or a decent live scoring would be good too.

Sorry Snooky, but we will agree to disagree.

New formats are essential if you want the game to survive and appeal to a wider, younger audience.

We must not have every tournament looking too similar. Each event should have its own personality and I think the new World Open is the beginning. 32 Amateurs from all over the world, early rounds played at the Academy, short formats giving a few surprises for press and TV, new faces getting a chance to shine.

I am so excited I have already bought my ticket! (Incidentally tickets go on sale in May – book early!).

PS Expect a better live scoring system and more internet streaming very soon.

(It had better not be in place until after the World Championships! - Sonny)

Originally Posted by visionaire
What are Barry's plans for the non-televised tournaments. Since a lot of them are in the Academy, will there be live streaming? Has he thought of the possibilities of on-demand matches? If not, I have a few ideas I've been sitting on for a while

Expect more streaming announcements soon. The Academy will be re-designed to cope with internet applications. On demand matches do not work by the way! Subscription channels can, as does encrypted betting channel applications.

Originally Posted by Souwester
My questions would be:

1. Is there anything in place to protect the 24% shareholding by commercial partners and 25% by players? ie to prevent Matchroom acquiring 100%
2. After the initial issue of shares will there be any provision for future Top 64 (or whatever) players to buy into the new company?
3. Are there guarantees that the £4.5m prize pot (as increased annually) won't just be spread more thinly across the increased number of tournaments you're hoping to stage, or will more tournaments automatically mean more prize money?
4. Are there any guarantees as to the proportion of additional revenues that will be ploughed into prize money, so that, for example, the £225k increase in prize pot won't be funded from £1m increased revenues in the new company.
5. What assurances are being given that the basic structure of the pro circuit will in subsequent years remain as announced for 2010/11 season - eg that the size of the pro circuit won't be limited to say 64 players, or that early rounds of the WCs will be reduced to best of 9 frames.

As in any company, shares can always be bought and sold. 51% is the same as 100% to me as I believe it is vital to my plans that I have the final word after consultation with other interested parties – SPA, other shareholders etc. You will find I listen a lot actually, but then make the final decision.

For too long snooker’s decisions have really been made by self or vested interests, without taking into account sometimes the most efficient and productive way forward.

As I see it 24% will be allocated to commercial partners, who actually bring benefits to the game to the table. Not promises but actual deliverance.

25% will be offered to players, as I have set out. If players do not want to invest their cash these unissued shares will be held over for new qualifying players in the future.

If anyone subsequently wishes to sell their shares, they will be offered to the existing shareholders only after new qualifying players shareholder opportunities have been met.

It is not perfect you might say, but I think it hits the three main points I am trying to achieve:-

1. I control a majority stake.
2. Players get the opportunity to invest cash in the future of the game.
3. Commercial partners are incentivised to help to propel the sport forward.

The prize money guarantees are spelt out – minimum of £4.5m for the next three seasons and thereafter a minimum of 5% (£225K) increase in each year or the commercial rights are handed back to the WPBSA.

Hopefully, I will do a similar financial job with snooker as I have with darts, where prize money continually rises and the commercial operation makes a profit for its shareholders. That way everyone is happy, but there are still lots of hurdles to overcome to achieve this.

Finally – the license from the WPBSA will guarantee that the Main Tour will not have less than 96 players on it with a maximum of 32 losing their professional card each season as is the case now.

(So what is the problem? - Sonny)

Originally Posted by RGCirencester
why has the maximum break prize been scrapped in all tournaments bar the worlds?
Because the players keep getting maximums and it is getting too expensive to insure.

Basic cost cutting I am afraid.

Originally Posted by Mr P
Why have you decided to make snooker like darts and how do you think this will improve the game?

Darts works. A series of majors backed up by an extensive Pro Tour. Ability is fundamental to success, but you must have enough opportunities to test your ability and then if you are good enough, you can become a major earning superstar that will make the sport the inspirational career to players that it should be.

In the past seven or eight years darts prize money has gone up ten fold and still the commercial arm of the game makes a seven figure profit (giving it reserves in case of unforeseen problems) and pays its shareholders a return of 50% on their initial investment.

That is what we need to do for snooker!

Originally Posted by jonnylovessn8ker
1. “We need more events, but we are losing money already” Part of running any business is raising cash, how will you tackle this issue? You have mentioned about selling 49% to another holding company as well as players. Why not simply list shares and publicize the company in London Stock Exchange, Hong Kong Stock Exchange, or even Shanghai Stock Exchange? Surely these ways can definitely raise cash quickly as well as expand into new markets at the same time.

2. Sponsorship. I read the document a couple of times but there seems to be little mention of the word. What business areas/sectors do you plan to find sponsorship, aside from the online gambling sectors?

3. Promotion plans. The manifesto is excellent in delivering careful planning and organizational restructuring. While increase in tournaments and tours can help promote game as well as the players, what marketing strategies do you plan to take on to boost the image?
Firstly we will cut the losses (as we are) by running a more efficient business.

We do not need to raise cash from outside the game – I need shareholders that have a vested interest in making the sport successful, not just giving us money.

Sponsorship – I am talking to everyone, in every sector, in every country (got any budget left?).

Perception is everything in sport. We need much stronger PR/website activities to convince all the doubters that we are the sport of the future. It will take time and effort, but we will not fail.

(Hearn :ahh: )

Originally Posted by pat39
If you want to make the World Open the FA Cup of Snooker then have an open draw in the 1st round because in the FA Cup Man Utd can draw Chelsea in round three so why can't O'Sullivan draw Higgins or Maguire etc in round one.

It is the same as the FA Cup Pat. The bigger names come in Round 2 and the superstars in Round 3.

Random Draw.

Am I missing your point, or are you cracking up?

Originally Posted by crush
if you'd like to get commercial part of snooker for free and the flock of players are ready to agree, well it's your's business,
but what's the strange rancour to maximum break?
you like to talk about sport's attraction, but in this light it looks not reasonable to reduce money for maximum

Already answered re maximum break.

(stupid question, let the sponsors put up a prize for a maximum - Sonny)

Originally Posted by Looki View Post
Any chance that World Open format could be reconsidered? Bo-5 games up to semis seems a bit toss of a coin -format.

Already answered re World Open.

Originally Posted by 1lawyer View Post
Hi Barry three questions.

!. Do you think its a good idea to make snooker free to air to help develop the game in countries like Canada, USA, Australia, NZ etc.,

2.How about donating a pot of money each year so that club owners, county league reps can promote some new am/junior events etc., across the country at grass root level.

3. I have noticed that over the last decade the WSA has wasted many hundreds of thousands of pounds on legal fees etc., fighting pointless court cases and the like. My question is this. 1. Do you think you can stop the in-fighting and bitching that goes on in the sport?

I think it is essential to establish relationships with new broadcasters – at Matchroom Sport I currently work with over 100 international broadcasters – and free to air is my preference, but generally they are more difficult!

We are the World Professional Billiard and Snooker Association and we have enough problems kick starting the pro game at the moment. We give National Amateur associations Main Tour cards, so I would expect them to govern and invest in the Amateur game.

The Pro Tour qualification rounds for amateurs will help though. Re legal fees – I agree entirely – waste of money that over the years has cost snooker dearly. Will not be happening again – with control I can guarantee the in-fighting will be over once and for all. This is the single most important factor in my wanting control, so thank you for picking this point up.

Originally Posted by Cossie
Why not allow clubs to become an accredited qualifying venue with one table up to tournament standard. By doing this certain qualifying matches could be played out in clubs bringing snooker to them and revenue to clubs.

Also why not have world snooker accredited pro-ams in clubs so that an amateur ranking list can be created. Again revenue to clubs and bring to life the pro-am circuit.

This point is not for now. More important things on the Agenda – perhaps one for the future.

Originally Posted by hegeland
What would you estimate the market price for World Snooker to be? (Ie how much money would be gained at an IPO rather than 'giving' 51% away?).

Already answered – no interest in floating at all.

Originally Posted by madman
What is the significance of owning 51% of the rights, other than i suppose you can go ahead and and do what deals you want without a vote. Is that correct? If so, could you just not own 49% and do what you want with it with the players permission beforehand. At least that way the ownership is still in the hands of the players. Why must you have 51%?

A best of 5 for the Grand-Prix is awful. Its not fair on the players and not fair on the public. If you are going to make the matches shorter, best of 7 at the very least only. Best of 5 is for amateur pro-ams, leave it at that or for the premier tour, but definately a no-go for ranking events. Thats totally ridiculous.

As for one frame shoot-outs, all very novel and fun, exciting etc, but what of the cost involved for the players. Where ever they are held, travelling expenses, hotel costs, accomodation, etc, etc for one frame. Is there a guaranteed prize for 1st round losers to make it worth their while?

Then the 8 events to be held in Europe. How are the players meant to be able to fund themselves to enter these events. Its tough enough entering a tournament in this country, but 8 abroad is going to be a killer for a lot of players, they just cannot afford it. What subsistence can you give these players?

I know we have to promote the game abroad etc, but it should be at the cost of the WSA, and not from the players prize funds. Many players are not even guaranteed an income from 1st round loses, so how are they expected to fund themselves for these events.

Surely Mr Hearn you can come up with some sort of accomodation package and travel arrangements for these players / events in Europe at the very least!

As I have mentioned control is essential – I just cannot contemplate doing the job properly to see another gaggle of self interest ruining my plans. This is totally non-negotiable.

World Open point already answered. (Yeah, shut up madman, and everyone else get over it, the World Open sounds cool, let him run with it - Sonny)

As far as players and their costs are concerned this is quite normal in professional sports. Players have to have the opportunity but it is not a sponsored holiday! Look at golf, tennis, and darts where all players pay their own way, but have to win or make the cut before they get prize money.

Of course it is expensive and that is why we have to increase prize money and they have to have the ability to match their desire to be wealthy. It is not a hand out!

I am sure the SPA will take on the job of helping to reduce player costs, but for me as a promoter I see my job is to expand prize funds, so that successful players can change their lives.

Originally Posted by stephen povey
What proposals has Mr Hearn for the game at grass roots as with all sports, it is essential the grass roots are healthy too as this is where your next crop of pros will come from!!!

I agree, but we have to get the professional game’s structure right first

Full marks Barry Hearn as expected.

Re: Barry Hearn answers questions on TSF

Postby Roland

gallantrabbit wrote:Sonny/Oneball - why is it that I detect that you have come over to my side??? Mr Anti Hearn is coming round???

I was sceptical at first because in his first interview he seemed like he was going to go too far in the direction of changing the game into a farce but thankfully that's not the case and this is easily the most exciting prospect since Altium. I am 110% behind him and so should the players be.

Re: Barry Hearn answers questions on TSF

Postby Wildey

gallantrabbit wrote:Just loved Hearn's quote on previous 'regimes'.....
“For years, the lunatics have been running the asylum,” Hearn said.

no what he actually ment with that was the players .....they run the WSA as it is at the moment he wants 51% of the share to change that for the better.

Re: Barry Hearn answers questions on TSF

Postby Smart

I think personally its a case of 'give the guy a chance' as the previous regime did not cover itself in glory with either tournies, attracting sponsors or actually growing the game.....

Hearn will and is trying to address snookers failings, to say bluntly 'no' is accepting the previous regime as acceptable - clearly it was not.

GL Barry !

Re: Barry Hearn answers questions on TSF

Postby Wildey

StalinESQ wrote:I think personally its a case of 'give the guy a chance' as the previous regime did not cover itself in glory with either tournies, attracting sponsors or actually growing the game.....

Hearn will and is trying to address snookers failings, to say bluntly 'no' is accepting the previous regime as acceptable - clearly it was not.

GL Barry !

to be honest i couldnt give a rubbish who is in charge wether its Barry Hearn or not but i want change at the WSA and fast the best thing about this whole deal is the 1 thing most people are negative about...Barry taking 51% of the share to have controlling intrest in how the sport is run without voting interuptions from clueless players who some if they were Turkeys would vote for christmas.

Re: Barry Hearn answers questions on TSF

Postby GJ

Mr P wrote:Mr Hearn answered my questions :)

Kevin at TSF did a great job in getting these questions to Barry.

what happened to the questions he was meant to ask higgins and ronnie ?

Re: Barry Hearn answers questions on TSF

Postby Monique

GJtheaussiestud wrote:
Mr P wrote:Mr Hearn answered my questions :)

Kevin at TSF did a great job in getting these questions to Barry.

what happened to the questions he was meant to ask higgins and ronnie ?

Ferret said yesterday he would upload the answers in a short while ... not so short it seems.

Re: Barry Hearn answers questions on TSF

Postby GJ

Mr P wrote:I think my questions were abit late - he only gave about 2 hours to post them.

mine we well in time hopefully he will post the answers soon