The Crucible has staged the World Snooker Championship since 1977 as the best players in the game converge on the city of Sheffield to compete for the ultimate crown in the sport. The great names of snooker have all enjoyed their best moments in the game at the Crucible, including Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan, who have claimed seven titles apiece at the famous venue over their careers.
Just as Wembley Stadium is the home of English football and Lord’s the home of English cricket, the Crucible has a special place in the traditions of the sport. But, with worrying participation figures that have been noted by players and officials alike, should snooker’s hierarchy consider moving the event around the United Kingdom or indeed around the world? Luca Brecel won the World Snooker Championship in 2023 for the first time, and you can find odds of 12/1 in the snooker betting markets for him to triumph again in 2024.
BRILLIANT BRECEL IS WORLD CHAMPION! 🏆
Luca Brecel has defeated Mark Selby 18-15 to win the #CazooWorldChampionship for the first time. He wins the top prize of £500,000 and will climb to number two in the world rankings 📈https://t.co/AHLb58WYjm pic.twitter.com/e0OXpbAq62
— WPBSA (@WPBSAofficial) May 1, 2023
A move elsewhere?
Brecel’s win could be an important moment for snooker to broaden its horizons outside of Sheffield for its showcase event. London could provide an opportunity for snooker to signal its showcase event in one of the many arenas available, including Alexandra Palace. The venue already stages the UK Masters, which is part of the sport’s Triple Crown of three major events, with the UK Championship taking place in York at the Barbican Theatre.
London would seemingly offer a change of scenery for the World Snooker Championship that does not necessarily have to end the Crucible’s history of staging the event. However, shifting the tournament around the United Kingdom at the least would give fans greater opportunities to see the best players in the world compete for the top prize in the sport.
There are a number of regional events that take place across the UK, but it does not quite hold the level of gravitas. Allowing the World Snooker Championship to move around would give it a special appeal, and allow cities from around the United Kingdom to compete for the right to hold the event, in the same manner as you would find with The Open in the golf or even further afield such as the Super Bowl in the United States.
The O2 Arena would be an interesting venue for snooker’s hierarchy to explore, considering its history at staging elite boxing and tennis events. It might lose a semblance of the atmosphere that The Crucible provides, with the crowd being almost within touching distance of the players. But, it would open the chance for more people to attend and witness one of the great sporting occasions. The Crucible has a capacity of 980 compared to the 20,000 of the O2 Arena. It opens up a realm of possibilities.
It’s tennis time!
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) November 15, 2016
London is also a much easier commute for international fans compared to Sheffield. Given Brecel’s triumph, showcasing the game to international fans is vitally important and could even raise the possibility of taking the World Snooker Championship outside of the United Kingdom in the future. Snooker faces a number of important decisions regarding its future, and shifting its major event could just be the start.