Snooker has suffered a major a financial blow after high profile sponsors 888.com and Saga Insurance ended their deals early. 888.com has pulled out of its sponsorship of the World Championship just two years into its five year contract.
Saga Insurance, the sponsor of the Wembley Masters event, has also pulled out early leaving the sport with prize deficit of 1.5m. It is understood that the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association are hoping to find new sponsors before the tournaments take place next year, or it will face financing the events itself.
The WPSBA wrote to players to tell them the news about the sponsors. It said: “Both companies have stated that the current economic climate is affecting marketing budgets in all industries and that market conditions have changed during the course of the agreements.
“We remain optimistic that we will find new sponsors for the World Championship and the Masters.”
In the past, tobacco companies were heavily involved in snooker sponsorship but the sport has struggled to find replacements since it they were banned in 2005.
The WPBSA also faces finding new sponsors for the Grand Prix and UK Championships, which are sponsored by Royal London Watches and Maplin Electronics respectively although both only have one year left on their deal.