The BBC’s commitment to live events continues throughout spring 2018 with plenty of live sport lined up across its various platforms. The Snooker World Championship is one of the jewels in the crown and will provide many hours of entertaining action from the world-famous Crucible in Sheffield.
The corporation have secured the rights to the tournament until 2019 and with the addition of iPlayer, snooker fans are now able to catch up with all of the top-class action in a variety of ways.
The countdown to the eagerly-anticipated competition has begun and the action gets underway on April 21st.
The top 15 ranked players automatically qualify for the main event which will be broadcast extensively by the BBC and very few snooker fans will be surprised to see Ronnie O’Sullivan priced up as the favourite outright at William Hill. The Rocket is available at 2/1 with defending champion and recent China Open winner Mark Selby second in the betting at 7/2.
The five-time world champion threatened to boycott the event in 2018 branding the tournament “boring”. The 42-year-old took to social media to suggest that he may miss the event to concentrate on filming the TV show Hustle in Australia but viewers will be desperately hoping the charismatic competitor will opt to play in Sheffield instead.
More fans than ever before followed the action from the Crucible in 2017, with the BBC announcing an increase in viewers for the final as 4.2 million snooker fans witnessed the Jester from Leicester edge out John Higgins. Eurosport, who share the rights with the BBC boasted an audience reach of 6.9 million during its 330 hours of coverage.
The 2018 coverage is likely to be led once again by Hazel Irvine with Jason Mohammad expected to continue anchoring the daily highlights show on BBC2.
Commentators will include Willie Thorne, Dennis Taylor and John Virgo. Former world number three Neal Foulds will once again be in the commentary box for Eurosport alongside Alan McManus and Mike Hallett.
The World Championship is one of a number of top-class events being shown by the BBC this spring with both the women’s FA Cup semi-finals being screened at the end of April. It’s the first time that both ties have been shown live with Everton vs Arsenal and Manchester City vs Chelsea likely to pull in decent audiences ahead of the final, which will take place in front of the TV cameras on May 5th.
The BBC will also continue their coverage of the men’s FA Cup with Manchester United vs Spurs and Chelsea vs Southampton taking place at the end of April. Other notable sporting events across their channels include the London Marathon and the Queen’s Club Championships, which acts as a precursor to Wimbledon, which gets underway at the beginning of July.
Despite losing a number of sporting rights over the past couple of years, the BBC’s unwavering commitment to live snooker is hugely beneficial to fans of the sport and the 2018 World Championship promises to be another spectacular and prestigious fortnight at the Crucible in Sheffield.