World Snooker has appeared to drop ticket costs altogether for world ranking event qualifiers – meaning snooker lovers can watch the top stars play for FREE this week in the Shanghai Masters qualifiers.
Normally fans have had to pay a fee of around £5 to watch a day’s worth of pre-qualifier matches at venues such as Preston and Barnsley so far this season – but this week at Wigan’s Robin Park Leisure Centre it will be different.
The change comes after a request was made on Twitter by former world Champion Neil Robertson in which he urged World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn to make the qualifiers free to attend in a bid to make more people watch the games.
His tweet to Barry Hearn after his International Championship qualifier victory last month said: “Please stop charging for tickets at qualifying. It’s like playing in a morgue at Preston.” Other players on Twitter have expressed concerns in recent weeks about the poor attendances at qualifying events.
It is unclear at this stage whether World Snooker has dropped the ticket price charge in direct relation to the players concerns about low attendances or not.
After announcing the qualifiers earlier today, World Snooker put ticket details on their website saying: “Many of the world’s best snooker players will be at Robin Park in Wigan for the qualifying round, and you can watch them in action for FREE!
“Robin Park will host the qualifying round of the Shanghai Masters world ranking event from Wednesday October 11 until Friday October 13. Over 120 players will be competing across eight tables, with each needing to win one match to earn a place in the final stages in China next month.
“Fans just need to collect wristbands on the day of the event from the main reception desk for entry. No reservations for tickets can be made, tickets are first come first served on the day. Matches will commence from 10am, tickets available from 9.30am. For any further information relating to this event, contact Robin Park on 01942 828 550.”
More than 120 players competing in Wigan will be battling for a place in the Shanghai Masters ranking event which this year falls at the later time of November after it was initially replaced by the World Open.
Ronnie O’Sullivan will play at the Robin Park Leisure Centre on Friday afternoon against Chris Totten from Scotland.
All matches start from Wednesday and will be a best-of-nine frames contest.
Other top stars include defending champion Ding Junhui, reigning world champion Mark Selby, world number three John Higgins and the recent European Masters winner Judd Trump.