Hearn's plans are well documented, he wants to take this sport by the scruff of the neck and revitalize it, but of course this won't suit the all the players. People fear that if Hearn's plans are rejected that we could see a snooker revolution and his followers simply walking away with Barry to start off their own tour?
People have made comparisons with what happened to darts, but times have changed - here is why there will be no split
1. Broadcasters - The WPBSA currently have the BBC and eurosport on board and in contract. Now there is no way Barry could compete with that, when darts split he obtained Sky as a major broadcaster and was able to compete with the BDO in terms of coverage.
Sky have shown very little interest in big snooker events, they only seem interested in short events which they can control the length on frames.
There is no way Barry could get a World championship on another channel lasting anywhere near the length of the current one, when darts split Barry was able to set up majors with a similar format to the BDO Hearn will not be able to support a WC or UK style format.
He could probably get ITV4 on board for some tournaments but it wouldn't be enough to compete regardless of the players on board.
2. Players When there was threat of a split in the early 00's the players of influence or the players that attracted a TV and live audience are roughly still the same.
Today they are probably the big 3 in terms of attracting an audience, Mark Williams winning last week will have started to creep back up there. The big difference now is that these players are a lot older and don't have as long left in the game, if Ronnie and Higgins were to defect they would be turning 35 in the first new season, hardly a sound foundation on which to build a new tour.
I think it goes without saying that if Hearn were to breakaway he would need both Higgins and O'Sullivan to come on board, I don't believe that one would go without the other so If Ronnie decided to stay John would also and the other way around. So why at this late stage of their careers would they risk it? Surely they will want to try and get as much as they can whilst their limited number of years at the top permits them.
As for the rest of the players, Hard to know where they would go, they might publicly back Hearn for this proposal but that doesn’t mean they would risk everything by jumping ship.
Then of course there is the up and coming players, the PDC have always relied on the BDO to provide them with young talent, a new tour under Hearn would not guarantee new talent if the WPBSA collapsed. It is apparent to all that Hearn has not much interest in the armature game so if that aspect is not nurtured then a shortage of young new players could become a problem.
3. Money Whilst there are only 7 tournaments available at the minute, the prize money for the top 16 is not bad at all. It took Hearn years to build up and surpass the BDO in terms of prize money on offer, would the top players be willing to take a huge slash in wages for several years until the prize pots provide something similar to what there is today? As mentioned earlier, several of the top pros haven’t that many years left so IMO what would be the point.
Let’s hope Hearn’s plan is passed by the players and he can be let get on when introducing new tournaments that us snooker fans desperately want.
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