Digital Publisher of the Year | Saturday 09 January 2010 | Snooker feed

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Masters snooker seals sponsorship deal

World Snooker has announced a last-minute sponsorship deal for the Wembley Masters with Pokerstars.com, ending months of financial uncertainty.

 

Online gambling website Pokerstars.com will now sponsor the event, having signed a one-year deal.

The competition was due to begin on Sunday without a sponsor after World Snooker failed to negotiate new funding, following the withdrawal of Saga Insurance.

Chairman of World Snooker, Barry Hearn said: "There’s been a lot of gloom around snooker so it’s a relief to have a sponsorship deal done. The Masters didn’t have a sponsor on it, so thankfully someone has come in at the last minute.

“Pokerstars are a major company and the biggest online operator in the poker industry. It’s potentially a good partnership for World Snooker, and although it’s only a one-year deal, we’ve got a credible brand name on board.

“It's very difficult to do a three-year deal with the event starting on Sunday but hopefully they will share our enthusiasm and we can sit down to talk about a longer deal afterwards.”

The value of the deal has not yet been announced, but is believed to be worth less than sponsorship for previous ranking events.

Hearn said: “I can’t go into details, but the deal is an expectable amount of money.

“I think the sponsorship is worth a lot more but it’s up to us to prove our worth to people on the back of the TV ratings for the event.”