Live sport returns to UK free-to-air television for the first time since the Coronavirus lockdown as ITV4 hosts exclusive coverage of Championship League Snooker from June 1st.
Airing daily on ITV4, the tournament will feature some of the biggest names in the sport competing at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, with a first prize of £30,000 and a place in this year’s Champion of Champions on offer.
A stellar line-up of some of the top names in snooker who are confirmed to compete includes Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson.
Fronted by Jill Douglas, the tournament and coverage have been set up to ensure guidelines on social distancing and hygiene are strictly adhered to, and players will enter on an invite-only basis. It will be a non-ranking event with no access to the public.
The Marshall Arena was selected as the venue as it has on-site accommodation meaning no players, officials or staff will need to leave the venue once they have entered. All 128 World Snooker Tour card holders will be invited to participate, with the top 64 who enter receiving a place in the tournament.
The initial phase from June 1st to June 8th will feature 16 groups with four players in each. All matches will be best of four frames, with two tables in operation. It will be three points for a win, and one point each for a draw. The 16 group winners go through to the second phase on June 9th and June 10th, featuring four groups of four. Those four winners will compete in the final group on June 11th, with the player finishing top to be crowned champion.
Matchroom Sport Chairman Barry Hearn said: “During the challenging times of the past few weeks we have examined the opportunities which still exist and worked relentlessly towards the goal of getting our tour going again. While most other sports remain sidelined, we are ready to return from June 1st. This sends out a message to the sporting world that snooker is at the forefront of innovation.
Controller of ITV Sport Production, Mark Demuth, added: “We know fans have been missing live action since the lockdown has been in place, so we’re delighted to bring snooker back, marking the return of live sport to free-to-air TV. Behind the scenes, our team has been working with the event organisers to ensure strict adherence to guidelines to safeguard the well-being of all involved, which is our priority.”