Barry Hearn’s New World Snooker
“Golf Darts is the working class” is one of his
. And “At my age I do not stand for office, I am invited.” And, perhaps most pertinently given his concern about the present, “I have people who fight against me, I find that giving up very easily.”62, Hearn is at the top of his game. Even if, as is, without equal as a promoter of the sport in 10 sports, he’s probably the only one in his game. Sitting at his desk, pool table companies in the headquarters of his organization Essex Matchroom, the accounts of dozens of events in anticipation of its review, with a stable of supercar purring on the external drive, is the image of success. The entrepreneur sports series, the chairman of Leyton Orient, president of the Professional Darts Corporation, has more chairs on his resume that the average dinner table. And he has just added another. In December, he assumed the presidency of the dangerously close-to-moribund World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. During the heyday of the game when Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor epic struggle drew a television audience of 18 million €, rode the wave of success, but always as an outsider, a thorn in the side of the body control . Now, as the sport struggled to find sponsors and television audiences, has taken over. Which is a little ‘how to become managing director of Russell Brand. BBC
“Yes, they are now the establishment,” he says. “Nice is not it?” Nice, maybe. But some ‘unexpected. Apparently, after a 30-year love affair with the game, at the turn of the century, like many of his followers at one time, his passion seemed to have cooled. Over the past decade, while still managing the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, he stopped the promotion of the events he used to, instead focusing his energies on other interests. So why the change of heart?“It brings to mind a story from [the boxing promoter] Bob Arum,” he says. “He has been involved in legal proceedings and has completely changed his testimony during the night the judge said. ‘Is not that what you said yesterday” It’ s been the same with me, a few months ago, when the question of choice to become president for the first time I have raised. said: ‘Snooker, nah not for me, has been there, done that, not just buy the T-shirt, I printed the’
“Then, suddenly, I find myself rolling my sleeves and get the sorting out of the game. Well, the answer to Bob Arum to the court was’ Yesterday I was lying, today I am telling the truth’.”>
As always with Hearn, is a clear line. But it does not mask a step backward? After all, he made his name – and the luck that keeps the engine on the disc – the development of new sports markets. Poker, which did not exist as an exercise in television 10 years ago, now earns a fortune. He has developed the new standard in boxing Prizefighter, which is making a good profit. And darts has grown exponentially under his administration. In fact, he says now holds darts snooker room in his attentions once.“Look I made a few quid, but I’m a working class boy at heart,” he says. “For me, there is no better than having a night of camp a few darts, then a curry on the way home. I am a man of simple tastes.” Why is he behaving like a middle-aged man seeking his first girlfriend on Friends Reunited and back the cloth? Especially in many observers believe snooker is a sport that has had its day. “I do not think snooker is dead. I described the other day, as a bit ‘like Sleeping Beauty and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the handsome prince. But, it’s in my genes. I remember the ‘we had fun with him. I look back and we were laughing all the time.’ was good times. And I can not understand why they can not go back. “
Except that, where once presided over a stable of household names, these days beyond O’Sullivan and Jimmy White, you’d be lucky to find someone involved in the game to be recognized in their local Tesco.“People say that there are no characters left,” he says. “Not true, there are, but we do not know enough about them. Mind, I admit I’m a little ‘out of the loop myself. I entered the room the players’ in a tournament recently and I said: first to meet: ‘Who is a child of six, then?’ And it turns out he’s only number 11 in the world. “ Hearn admits, and not dozing, snooker has its problems. “No denying that. First day on this I worked 5:30 to 9:30 and it took me five paracetamol to stop the pain in my head,” he says. “The feeling among the players is that something must be done. ” They had a look at what we have done for darts. We have drawn upon a sport that had £ 500,000 in prize money to £ 5 million a season. There are smiles on the faces of the players’. crowds are great. It ‘been a. great success story, rather reminiscent of snooker in the Eighties The principles of the promotion are the same: to give value for money and make customers leave with smiles on their faces is the pace of change, it is not rocket science “ Thu So what does he intend to do with the game? Beyond that, giving players the recent Masters UK walk-in music, a move that had many shaking their heads as an observer in a moment of wonder.
“Look, I know we’ve had some criticism for that,” he says. “But when Mark King dances a little jig for his walk, music and says it was fun, this is what you want to hear. The best example here is Twenty20 cricket. Purists were so wrong, it was a huge success.“The trouble with snooker tournaments is that all look the same, there is no variation. You must have the courage to experiment. Maybe I’m not brave enough to change the World Cup, I let good alone. But lower down the hierarchy, perhaps we will have one frame shoot out, in out, Bish Bash Bosh. Maybe it will attract a new market. Maybe it will be a disaster. I had a lot of disasters in my time. The secret of my success is remaining silent about them. The point is, what I am promising you will have a go. “
Although this ‘we’ has something of a real color to it. Hearn is not one that feels comfortable in the traditional structures of British sport organizations.“We do not live in the world of the Board of Matchroom,” he says. “The players wanted me to stand for election against Rodney Walker [WPBSA for the presidency]. I said I do not hold up. My name is not David Cameron. Democracy is all very well, but I’m not in the business of democracy. I learned Rule largest pool of all business. I walked away from it thinking it can not be bothered with all the in-combat. From that moment on, I learned if I do something I control. And ‘total control or anything.
“I know there is nobody else in the world can do what I can do. That sounds awfully big-headed. But this is my strength. And before you say it, I do not like the term dictator. I prefer the term benevolent despot. “To underline its determination to do things his way, Hearn gave the players that make up the composition of the WPBSA an ultimatum. The March 31 is the end of my staff, “he says.” At that point I will not have all the answers, but I have a game plan to present to the players. New ideas, new tournaments, a continuation of my control. They have to take decisions. If they say yes I will. If they say no, I’m going to stage left and wishing them God speed
“I’m not in this for a popularity contest that I have other things to do, but that’s the challenge: on Feb .. 11 we had 10,000 at the O ₂ to watch the eight best darts players in the world have a shoot out. It can reach 10,000 to the snooker ₂ O? That is the question. “
well it can?“I suggest you watch this space.”