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A huge 12,500 capacity venue in Sheffield touted to replace the Crucible as a possible host of the World Snooker Championship

The Sheffield Arena has been mooted as a possible replacement for the Crucible Theater as Sheffield wants to keep the World Snooker Championship in the city beyond 2027.

According to a report in local newspaper The Star, the 12,500-seat venue could meet the demands of the sport’s organizers when the contract with the 980-seat Crucible expires in 2027, after the 50th anniversary of the tournament, which began in 1977.

Sheffield Arena is home to local ice hockey team Sheffield Steelers, but has hosted boxing, basketball, gymnastics, professional wrestling and Premier League darts, as well as huge pop concerts – including performances by Take That and One Direction – since opening in 1991 .

“We have a huge and dedicated fan base, not only in the UK, but also in Europe, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Middle East,” said Simon Brownell, CEO of the World Snooker Tour.

“As a sport we have grown fantastically in recent years, for example the London Masters has become a complete sell out from start to finish with an incredible atmosphere.

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O’Sullivan and Fu receive huge reception from record-breaking Hong Kong Masters crowd

“I also saw that in Germany at the Tempodrom and in China we recently held an event in Yushan with over 2,000 spectators. In 2022, in Hong Kong, we only had 10,000 audiences.

“So we want to make sure that where we grow all our events around the world, the World Championship keeps up with that.”

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Hearn on Crucible future – ‘You can’t eat history’

Options on the table include staying at the Crucible, building a bigger venue to accommodate the Sheffield venue or moving the event to a bigger venue overseas, but former World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn insists the preference is to stay in Sheffield, “the home spirit’ of sport amid ongoing talks with Sheffield City Council.

“The priority is to stay in the Steel City of Sheffield because it has been our home for a long, long time,” Hearn told the BBC.

“Great times. But we have a duty to everyone to listen. We listen to the fans, we listen to the locals, we listen to the players.

“The effect on prize money. We look at the conditions and say the game has continued and deserves better than the current conditions.”

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