Barry Hearn has said the huge sums of prize money increasing in the game shows that snooker is a “major sport”.
Last week saw Mark Selby collect a record prize money cheque of £375,000 after winning his third World Championship crown – but that figure will significantly increase in the next two years.
During the World Championships the World Snooker chairman announced the winner of the World Championship in 2019 would receive a cheque for a record high of £500,000 from a total cash pot of £2.25m.
It’s been a long term ambition for Hearn to get snooker close to golf in terms of the major prize money received. He believes on the mentality of the rewards are there for players if they have the ability to prove it.
In Golf Masters winner Sergio Garcia won $1.98m which equates to more than £1.5m.
Though snooker is not anywhere near those numbers as yet, Hearn said the record-high figures show snooker is on its way as to acheiving “major sport” status.
A summary note of Hearn’s statement at the end of April reads: “This year’s World Championship prize money is £1.75 million with the winner getting £375,000.
“Next year it will go to £1.968 million with the winner getting £425,000 and in 2019 the prize money will rise to £2.25 million with the winner getting £500,000.
“This is a statement to show snooker is a major sport.”
In a 2013 interview with the BBC Hearn stressed his desire to push the prize money up, as done in golf and tennis, to get the very best out of the sport in terms of quality match-play and drama.
He was quoted as saying: “Sport is about money. All the glories are down the road. Initially it is all about cash.
“How do you get the top players? Easy. Push the money up. If you want the top players in golf, snooker and tennis you have to come up with the top prize money and if you don’t you get what is left.”
Hearn said he hopes in future years for total prize money in snooker to reach a staggering season total of £20million.