Thursday , June 13 2024

Riyadh Season becomes official partner of the World Snooker Championship, Ronnie O’Sullivan signs three-year deal to play in all Saudi tournaments and coach aspiring talent while golden ball prize rises to $1m

  • A new agreement between Riyadh Season and the WST has been announced
  • Ronnie O’Sullivan, 48, has also signed a three-year ambassadorial agreement 
  • He will take part in all WST events in Saudi and coach aspiring talent out there 

His Excellency Turki Alalshikh has announced an agreement between Riyadh Season and the World Snooker Tour to further their collaboration.

Riyadh Season has agreed to become an official partner for snooker’s most prestigious tournament, the World Snooker Championship.

His Excellency – the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) – has also announced a new three-year ambassadorial agreement with snooker’s World No.1 Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The partnership will see O’Sullivan – who has won a record 23 Triple Crown titles – take part in all WST events in Saudi Arabia.

O’Sullivan will also make special trips to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to coach and foster aspiring talent in the Middle East.

His Excellency (HE) Turki Alalshikh has announced an agreement between Riyadh Season and the World Snooker Tour to further their collaboration

His Excellency (HE) Turki Alalshikh has announced an agreement between Riyadh Season and the World Snooker Tour to further their collaboration

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Speaking about the partnership with WST, his Excellency said: ‘Riyadh Season is delighted to be a partner of the World Snooker Championship, which will start next Saturday and continues until May 6 at Crucible in Sheffield.’

While WST Chairman Steve Dawson added: ‘We are honoured to work with HE Turki Alalshikh on his visionary plans for progress. We share his ambition of bringing snooker to many more fans across the Middle East, and to foster new talent and develop grassroots structures.

‘We share a dream that one day Saudi Arabia will produce a World Snooker Champion, and each of the three initiatives announced today are steps towards that dream. 

‘We are thrilled to be working with His Excellency and to deepen our relationship with Saudi Arabia. The inaugural Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker was a fabulous event and many of the players enjoyed the atmosphere created by the local fans.

‘We look forward to returning to the Kingdom in the summer for the Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters, which will be the first ever world ranking event in the region. These tournaments grow the sport and provide fantastic opportunities for the players to compete for outstanding prize money.’

His Excellency Alalshikh  has also announced a new three-year ambassadorial agreement with snooker's World No.1 Ronnie O'Sullivan

His Excellency Alalshikh  has also announced a new three-year ambassadorial agreement with snooker’s World No.1 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Saudi Arabia hosted it’s first-ever WST event last month – the Riyadh Season World Masters.

O’Sullivan was the star attraction, winning the inaugural event by beating Luca Brecel 5-2 in the final.

The tournament also featured an innovative new concept, introducing a 23rd ball – titled as the Riyadh season ball – to a frame. 

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The ball was 20 points, meaning there was the possibility of a 167 maximum break, rather than the traditional 147 maximum. 

The first player to pot the ball was set to earn around £400,000. However, no one managed to claim the prize.  

The Excellency Alalshikh has announced that next year’s prize for the golden ball at the Riyadh Season World Masters has doubled to $1million (£800,000).

The partnership will see O'Sullivan - who has won a record 23 Triple Crown titles - take part in all WST events in Saudi Arabia

The partnership will see O’Sullivan – who has won a record 23 Triple Crown titles – take part in all WST events in Saudi Arabia

O’Sullivan has told HE Alalshikh he will focus on potting the Riyadh season ball at next year’s tournament.  He also spoke about his experience playing in Saudi Arabia.

The snooker star said: ‘Playing in Riyadh last month was an amazing experience, I love the atmosphere and the enthusiasm of the fans. 

‘We can make snooker huge in Saudi Arabia. So I am excited by this chance to work to grow the sport there and the opportunity to coach the best young talent and pass on my experience. 

‘I’m also relishing the chance to play in more big events in the Kingdom, and to work alongside HE Turki Alalshikh on his ambitions.’

Saudi ArabiaRonnie O’Sullivan

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