Monique wrote:The reality of of economics is that a sport like snooker, and the players themselves - it's a minority sport and its exponents don't earn anything even close to what footballers, tennis-men or golfers do- can't survive without sponsoring, and sponsors are only interested in one thing: exposure and that comes primarily through television nowadays.
Another economical reality is that for the sport to get good venues at an affordable price, the venues management must make money on paying audience, which means that people need to be motivated to get there. Most people will prefer to see a match go to conclusion, rather than a session in the "middle" of one. Maybe not the really die hard fans, but most people, and it's "most people" that make big audiences.
BTW best of 11 isn't really a "short" match.
The main reasons for people to advocate long matches are
- "you need them to find out the best player". The way the World Open went last season has definitely proved that wrong. The best players will come out on top whatever the format because they are the ones with the game and being able to handle pressure. In short formats they will just make sure to come out of the blocks right from frame 1.
- "you have more tension and drama". Again that's not true. In a long match if one player runs away with it, there is no tension at all and the last session is usually quite boring when not painful. More often than not the player who is behind is resigned and the one who is in front can't get adrenaline flowing. When the match is close, then tension only builds really when they have the winning line in sight, so when basically it becomes best of 7 or best of 5... Yes we do have the occasional big come back. Once in a blue moon. I'm not speaking here about a players coming back to win having been 3 or 4 frames behind with 4 or 5 to play. We have that in best of 9 or best of 11 also. I'm speaking about being like 6-7 frames behind.... how many did we have over the last 3 seasons? (I can remember only 2 on television. One the coming back player won, one the coming back player lost in the decider).
I take your point on some things. Yes, a more casual fan may want to see matches to a conclusion. Doesn't seem very relevant though. We're being told that matches are being shortened for television, not for paying punters. And should we jump through hoops for people with the opinion that they don't want to pay for two sessions to watch one match? It might be reasonable enough a request, but if we follow that through where does it end? Shall we just make all tournaments best of five like the World Open? That would help.
Also there are other ways of dealing with that then just shortening matches. Surely it would be preferable to try and keep them being them as best of 17, but maybe look into rejigging it so that as many matches as possible start and finish in the same day.
For me, it's the secondary tournament in the sport. Some matches not being televised isn't ideal, obviously, especially when you see one match that looks good and can't watch it. But, I'm also against turning the UK into something a bit similar to lots of other tournaments. Your points of 'these matches may be shorter, not short' and that shorter matches can also have merit would be okay if this wasn't the UK Championships. There's nothing wrong with the format in itself, and it could be used for a different tournament. But matches this long are rare enough as it is. And they really help add a sense of prestige. It's a shame if that's taken away. A real shame. And leads me to wonder, if they'd shorten a tournament of this prestige, then where does the shortening of matches end?
It would be a shame if they moved the tournament to a grander venue, only to make the tournament worse.