Barry Hearn has revealed that discussions have been held over building a “new Crucible” amid talk over the Sheffield venue’s long-term future as host of the World Snooker Championship.
Speaking to BBC Sport this week, the World Snooker chairman discussed the possibility of taking the sport’s flagship event elsewhere.
The Crucible has staged the World Snooker Championship since 1977 and its current hosting agreement runs for four more years. With a capacity of 980, the Crucible is smaller than other snooker venues such as Alexandra Palace in London, which stages the Masters.
Alexandra Palace can seat over 2,000 fans, and some players have suggested that taking the World Snooker Championship elsewhere, or incorporating more than one venue alongside the Crucible, would be beneficial for the sport.
“We have an agreement with the council for the next four years or so to stay here, and that of course will be honoured,” Hearn said. “I think we are synonymous with Sheffield and the history we have created with the Crucible is without doubt a very important part of the brand of snooker.
“Early talks at the moment with Sheffield council are why don’t we look at perhaps building a new Crucible in Sheffield so we do not have to think about going anywhere else? If I could do anything on the existing site, of course I would. But there simply isn’t space.”
When discussing the Crucible’s long-term suitability as host, Hearn said that he would “never stay a moment longer than I am required” but insisted that he would rather keep the tournament in Sheffield.
“It just needs a little bit of understanding and investment of people’s time, people’s heart and maybe a few quid from central government,” he added.
This year’s World Snooker Championship got underway on April 16 and runs until May 2.