The series, announced almost two years ago featured prominently the headline prize of a cool million for any player able to go on and win all four events. In any event, one of the players who lined up in the first final of the series, does indeed line up in the final one, but alas, didn't win that final nor reach either of those in between.
Have the events been a success though?
The positives seem to have been that the events have retained a somewhat regular format, with the Best of 11 frame and 17 frame matches for the final stages rather than the shorter formats that new events seem to bring about (to give Hearn credit, this season's been a decent one for longer new event formats). There seems to be a format for a 128 event that seems to work within a seven day timeframe. For the Welsh in particular I was a little skeptical when it moved back to Cardiff, but it's working well as a venue (cue a change)
Broadcasting the first three events on Quest (including full coverage of the finals) also allowed for greater scope in the number of viewers, particularly those who might not have British Eurosport subscriptions.
Just seeding the top 16 into the draw won't have been popular with some, but I think it works well for these kind of events. It gives some individuality towards them which we do need if we are to see a more rigid system of seeds being fixed into formal positions of the draw i.e. 1,16,8,9 etc. Would players such as King, and Donaldson have had such good runs respectively had the event been seeded totally directly?
The challenges? Attendances for some of the events - the English Open in particular could have been better (is there a better venue for the English? Preston is used to holding events with a number of tables, could it fit the seven or eight required for this). Whilst the £1,000,000 bonus will have given the series some publicity, it was clear that it was unlikely to be under threat. Would it work (in theory) that the Home Nations could take over the Players Championship mantle with 'tour finals' event later in the season?
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