Eurosport has announced it will broadcast the qualifying rounds of snooker’s World Championship across all its platforms for the very first time.
All eight days of the Betfred World Championship qualifying event, from July 21 to 28, will receive extensive live coverage for fans across 50 territories in Europe.
One table will be covered by Eurosport TV, with commentary, and two tables will be covered by Eurosport Player.
The qualifying rounds take place at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. All players seeded outside the top 16 will be aiming to battle their way through to earn a coveted spot at the Crucible Theatre for the final stages which run from July 31 to August 16.
Tour players seeded 17 to 128 plus 16 players invited by the WPBSA will compete, bringing the total field to 128.
The final qualifying round – known as Judgement Day – takes place on July 27 and 28. The 16 winners then go through to the Crucible to be drawn at random against one of the top 16 seeds.
All matches will be best of 11 frames, up until the final round which will be best of 19. Session times each day will be 1.30pm and 7pm, until the final round which is 1pm and 7pm.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are delighted to come to an agreement with Eurosport to televise the qualifying rounds for the first time. The Betfred World Championship is a massive event on a global scale and the qualifying rounds are very much a part of it.
“For anyone who has not watched the qualifying rounds before, there is a wonderful sense of drama and anticipation as players battle for a place at the Crucible. The matches can make or break a season or even a career, as places on the tour are often at stake.
“From legends like Jimmy White and Ken Doherty to young guns hoping for a Crucible debut, as well as the top female players, there is a fantastic field. And the quality of play is extraordinary. This all deserves to go to a much wider audience. Television viewers on Eurosport’s network are in for a treat.
“In these difficult times we continue to provide extensive broadcast coverage of a range of events to many millions of fans. Our long term partnership with Eurosport goes from strength to strength.”
Jamie Steward, Senior Director of Production and Broadcast, Eurosport UK said: “We are delighted to offer passionate viewers across the continent extended live coverage for snooker’s biggest event. Eurosport broadcasts 19 tournaments live across the season and this further demonstrates our commitment to super-serving our devoted fans. By screening coverage on both linear and direct-to-consumer we are broadening the audience and ensuring as many people as possible can enjoy the coverage.
“Sport fans have been deprived of live content recently, so we are thrilled to further deliver what they crave.”