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Saudi to host first ranking snooker event with prize fund of more than €2.3m

Saudi Arabia will stage its first ranking snooker event later this year, with the inaugural Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters boasting a prize fund of more than €2.3 million.

That puts the tournament behind only the World Championship in terms of prize money, with the World Snooker Tour branding it the "fourth major" alongside the traditional triple crown of World Championship, UK Championship and Masters.

A 10-year deal has been agreed for the event, which will take place from 31 August to 7 September in Riyadh and is open to the entire tour, plus six local wild cards.

The Riyadh Season World Masters, a non-ranking event limited to the world's top eight, will take place in March and features a new "golden ball" which could increase the maximum break to 167.

This year's World Pool Championship will also be staged in Jeddah from 3-8 June.

Matchroom Sport chairman Eddie Hearn said: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has forged a reputation for growth and creating new opportunities for sports to grow in a new market to new fans.

"The country has hosted some of the world's premier sporting events in recent years, welcoming visitors from all over to experience its passion for sport and unique culture.

"The addition of both the Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters and World Pool Championship over the next decade further enhances that as it heralds an exciting chapter for snooker and nine-ball pool.

"We have seen the incredible impact boxing has had in this region. Now, I believe we will see billiards cement its legacy here too, creating incredible opportunities and competition for the finest players on the planet."