When Reanne Evans won her 12th world title, I observed an interesting fact that the total prize fund for the entire World Championship was only £15,000. And that is total – not even the winners share. For context, just competing in the first round of the WSC gets each contender £20,000. This made me wonder about other differences in the World of Women’s Snooker.
That was a convenient segue - women’s snooker is run by the WWS (World Women’s Snooker). They are responsible for organising and running all the snooker events for female competitors and are provided support by the WPBSA. Much like the main tour we are all used to, events are held globally and throughout the year. Although, as I imagine most aren’t too aware of the women’s tour, there are some differences.
There are considerably less tournaments than on the main tour. In the 2018/19 season, there were only 8 events held in the WWS calendar, which is a fraction in comparison to the main. Certain players like O’Sullivan would probably welcome a spread out calendar like that but for most, they would probably prefer a few more options. These 8 events don’t include the main tour events that women can take part in such as Q School, Shoot Out or the World Championship.
Furthermore, the length of the matches are much shorter. In order to win the World Championship, the winner only needs to take 6 frames in the final as opposed to the 18 frames required at the Crucible.
Then there’s the prize money. The WWS claimed that the prize fund for 2018/19 was at least £50,000. Although I couldn’t confirm this, it seems realistic given the number of tournaments. The aim of the WWS is to keep this figure rising as the years roll on. I won’t go into a rant about this as I want to keep this more informative but this number should be multiplied significantly. Bear in mind, this is for the entire season.
Obviously, women’s snooker doesn’t bring in the viewership or revenue of their main tour counterparts, but you would expect the WPBSA to be able to set aside a more reasonable budget to provide an incentive and make things more worthwhile for female players.
There also needs to be a focus on encouraging women to participate in this male-dominated sport in order to try and root out the next big talent. I think it does come to participation numbers and by giving the female players a larger canvas of tournaments to be able to compete in will raise the standard in the women’s game and hopefully, allow more females to qualify for the big events on the main tour.