Friday, 16 November 2012

So here is Sofia

Bulgaria is enjoying its first taste of live professional snooker this weekend with the fourth European PTC event of the season being held in Sofia.

The Bulgarian Open is another tournament and another new market being explored by the game.

Once again, snooker has been welcomed with open arms and the crowd look as if they're loving it. This hardly comes as a surprise when you look at how competitions elsewhere have been received on the continent in Belgium, Germany and Poland.

Europe as a whole is a market ready for snooker to tap into. There's a definite appetite for the game and, as always, Barry Hearn is determined to explore it.

Say what you like about our large-as-life supremo Bazza but while he's in charge of the sport he will never let it stand still. He is ambitious, brave and always thinks big.

Bulgaria could easily be another of his success stories.

The popularity of the small European events over the past two and a bit seasons have, in my opinion, gazumped the success of the entire PTC series. I'm all for snooker players being given the chance to play regular competitive matches. But taking the game to new countries to test the water is actually a venture with even greater potential reward.

Barry's next big challenge should be to convert one of these European tournaments into a full-fledged ranking event. This would be a statement of intent and a big sign of progress.

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