Ronnie O’Sullivan behind record World Snooker Championship viewing figures, says Barry Hearn

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O’Sullivan has helped earn some huge viewing figures for the World Snooker Championship (Picture: REX)

The World Snooker Championship has enjoyed some record viewing figures, thanks in part to the success of Ronnie O’Sullivan as he lifted a sixth world title at the Crucible, revealed WST chairman Barry Hearn.

The Rocket dismantled Kyren Wilson 18-8 in the final on Sunday, to go one away from Stephen Hendry’s record of seven world titles at the Crucible.

It has been a fantastic tournament, with memorable matches throughout, the first 147 for eight years at the Crucible and the first time ever that both semi-finals have gone to a deciding frame.

It had looked like the World Championship may not happen at all at one stage, so Hearn is delighted that it has not only gone ahead, but done so with such great success, partially down to the Rocket.

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‘It’s gone really well. We’ve refused to give up, battled through and we’ve got our rewards for it,’ Hearn told Metro.co.uk. ‘I’m hearing record figures from on BBC Four. On BBC we’re about 10% up, Eurosport about 50% up.

‘The cynics can say “you’re not up against much” but that’s because we don’t roll over.

‘The semi-finals were the highlights of most people’s snooker lives, that’s not happened in 40 years of the Crucible.

‘Absolutely Ronnie’s a massive draw, a massive draw. But there’s lots of things, we’ve continually had good figures for snooker in recent years, which is pleasing, with or without Ronnie O’Sullivan.

‘But Ronnie O’Sullivan is the cream on the cake. If you get Ronnie O’Sullivan as well as the matches being great and people writing about it, snooker’s high profile, when you add Ronnie O’Sulivan to that mixture you can expect great figures, and that’s what we’re getting.’

Barry Hearn

Barry Hearn is delighted with the results of the World Championship on TV (Picture: Getty Images)

The success has not only been in the UK, but internationally, especially in China where the game has not been able to visit during the global pandemic and will not be able to until next year.

‘The figures in China are off the scale,’ said Hearn. ‘It’s being covered by CCTV, the national free to air station in China, so it doesn’t get bigger than that.’

There is little bigger than a Ding Junhui vs Ronnie O’Sullivan match for the snooker fanbase in China, which they were handed in the second round, and Hearn says the results were predictably excellent.

‘I’m hearing they were absolutely vast,’ he said. ‘As a promoter I’m always accused of bias and exaggeration, which is often true, so I’m not going to attempt a number, but I’m hearing it was massive.’

MORE: Ronnie O’Sullivan says lack of ‘scary’ fans helped him to World Snooker Championship title

MORE: Ronnie O’Sullivan makes history with sixth World Snooker Championship title

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