Global snooker and pool stars coming to Saudi Arabia

29 February 2024 3 min. read

The Saudi Arabian governing body for billiards and snooker has signed a landmark deal to bring the world's best cueists to the county for the next ten years, with support from sports consultancy firm ELLVEE.

Having attracted some of the world’s biggest sporting stars in recent times, Saudi Arabia is now set to welcome snooker’s top talent, with the inaugural Saudi Snooker Masters taking place in August with over $2.5 million in prize money up for grabs.

Local fans won’t have to wait until August however to witness some tabletop action, as the Kingdom is also gearing up to host the World Pool Championship in Jeddah in June this year.

Global snooker and pool stars coming to Saudi Arabia

Both events are part of a newly-announced 10-year collaboration between the two world tour bodies and the Saudi Arabian Billiard & Snooker Federation (SABSF) aimed at providing a platform for emerging local players and inspiring participation among the country’s youth, with Middle East sports and entertainment consultancy ELLVEE having supported the Federation and Ministry of Sport in securing the deal.

“The introduction of two brand new global events in Saudi Arabia with long-term deals in place is an absolute game-changing moment for our sport,” stated SABSF president Nasser Saab Al-Shammari. “We have a flourishing community but until now opportunities were limited to expose it to the game’s elite, so this will undoubtedly accelerate our progress and development.”

“We look forward to warmly welcoming the very best snooker and pool players in the world to the Kingdom and taking their sports into the heart of our communities, while also giving emerging young Saudi players the chance to compete at this level for the first time with a ‘home’ event.”

Scheduled for over a week from the end of August, the new Saudi Snooker Masters becomes the sport’s fourth official ‘major’ alongside the prestigious Triple Crown events. The rankings tournament will be open to all 128 international tour players, who will compete for a prize pool in excess of $2.5 million – the second richest on the circuit – alongside six up-and-coming local wildcard players. All-time great Ronnie O’Sullivan currently holds the world number one rank.

With a $1 million prize pool at stake, the 2024 World Pool Championship, known as the premier event on the World Nineball Tour, is set to be hosted this June in Jeddah. This championship is expected to draw the sport's leading figures, including Francisco Sanchez Ruiz, the current world number one and reigning champion, as well as Shane Van Boening, the 2022 world champion and five-time US Open winner, to compete in Saudi Arabia.

Orchestrating the deal

The details of the long-term partnerships with UK-based sports promoter Matchroom were finalized with the support of ELLVEE, which provided strategic and commercial advisory services to Saudi’s Federation and Ministry of Sport in support of the deal.

Established in 2021 and servicing the Middle East region out of Dubai, ELLVEE provides a range of strategic and commercial advisory services for the Middle East’s burgeoning sports and entertainment industry. Leveraging the synergy of global expertise and local insights, Sam Hollis, the Founder and CEO, previously served as the Commercial Commissioner for the America's Cup.

Iain Higgins, the Managing Director, brings his experience as the former Chief Operating Officer of the International Cricket Council (ICC), the worldwide governing body for cricket.

Commenting on the two deals in the Kingdom, Matchroom Chairman Eddie Hearn said: “Both events will be underpinned by community engagement to introduce new players to the sport and will open up new talent pathways over the decade. Clinics for coaches and referees and player visits will guarantee a massive boost and bright future for both snooker and pool in Saudi Arabia. Global television syndication will also ensure fans around the world will get to enjoy both events.”