Sheffield’s economy boosted £100m by 40 years of World Championship snooker

Sheffield’s economy has been boosted by £100m thanks to 40 years of the World Snooker Championships, according to recent research.

The annual tournament, which generates 40,000 spectator admissions each year, has been held at the Crucible Theatre every year since 1977. This year’s competition kicked off on Saturday 21 April and lasts until 7 May.

The research, commissioned by BBC Radio Sheffield and conducted by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC), found that three-quarters of the spectator admissions come from people visiting from outside Sheffield specifically for the event.

Those not lucky enough to get tickets can watch the action on big screens across the city.

Katrina Bunker, Editor of BBC Radio Sheffield, said: “Our city is understandably proud of its record in hosting one of the biggest events in the annual sporting calendar.”

The tournament generates an annual economic revenue of £2.6m from spending on accommodation, food and drink, shopping, travel and entertainment from visitors, players, media and officials as well as the cost of running the championship itself.

It pits the best snooker players from across the world against each other in a tournament which this year boasts a top prize of £375,000.

“The World Snooker Championship over the last 40 years has put Sheffield firmly on the international map,” said Ms Bunker.

Ronnie O’Sullivan is pursuing a record sixth ranking title of the season at this year’s championships.

Sheffield, often nicknamed ‘Snooker City’ around the time of the championships, also gains significant broadcast exposure from the BBC and Eurosport producing more than 100 hours of coverage of the tournament.

Researchers claim this exposure generates an estimated marketing value of around £3.2m for the city every year.

Richard Coleman, principal researcher at Sheffield Hallam’s SIRC, said: “The World Snooker Championship brings a significant annual boost to the Sheffield economy and has also been a great marketing vehicle for the city around the world, not least in economies such as Asia with whom the city is looking to forge links.

“Such benefits will be enhanced even further as this prestigious event remains at The Crucible until 2027 and its 50th anniversary in Sheffield.”

This year’s tournament has already got off to an exciting start as defending champion and world number one Mark Selby was beaten in the first round.

Ronnie O’Sullivan also mounted an impressive comeback to beat Stephen Maguire in search of his record sixth ranking title of the season.