Welsh Open too big for Newport now, says snooker chief

GWENT STAR: Cwm's Mark Williams in action in Newport at the 2014 Welsh Open in February

GWENT STAR: Cwm's Mark Williams in action in Newport at the 2014 Welsh Open in February

First published in Sport by

WORLD Snooker chairman Barry Hearn says the BetVictor Welsh Open has outgrown Newport and will have a "fitting stage" when it moves to Cardiff next year.

The world ranking event will be staged in Cardiff this season for the first time since 2004.

The tournament has been staged at the Newport Centre since 2005 but now moves to the Motorpoint Arena in the Welsh capital and will run from February 16-22 next year.

The BBC Wales-televised event will be contested by 128 players, all starting in the same round, with a top prize of £60,000.

This year’s final in Newport saw Ronnie O’Sullivan thrash Ding Junhui 9-3, making an incredible 147 maximum break in the last frame. Other winners in recent years include Stephen Maguire, Ding Junhui, John Higgins, Ali Carter, Mark Selby and Neil Robertson.

World Snooker chief Hearn said: “The BetVictor Welsh Open has grown dramatically in recent years with increased prize money, growing live attendances and a new structure.

"While we are grateful to the people of Newport for their support, it is time to move the event down the M4 to the capital city to allow it to continue to build momentum.

“The Motorpoint Arena is a top class venue and a fitting stage for the world’s very best snooker players.

"This is a tournament with such a rich history, ever present on our calendar as a world ranking event for over 20 years.

"I have no doubt that the people of South Wales will be out in force to make the 2015 Welsh Open a truly spectacular week of snooker.”

Gwent's two-time world champion Mark Williams, from Cwm, added: “It’s fantastic news for snooker fans in Cardiff.

"I remember when the Welsh Open was first held in Cardiff in 1999 and I beat Stephen Hendry 9-8 in the final, it remains one of my best moments.

“I always enjoyed playing Newport but hopefully Cardiff will be even better. The Motorpoint Arena is an excellent venue and I’m sure it will be packed out.”

Tickets are on sale now at the Motorpoint Arena box office on 029 20 224488.

Comments (5)

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1:12pm Fri 8 Aug 14

DavidMclean says...

So that's it for the Newport Centre, which when it first opened was instantly one of the UK's premier venues, attracting the likes of Elton John and David Bowie.

A quick look at the online what's on listings amounts to just two events for the rest of 2014 - Dragondaze Games Convention and Robert Plant.

I remember being there almost every other week to watch bands. The Newport Centre remains my favourite venue. The sound is almost always excellent, and it's easy to get a view. It's big enough to be special, but small enough to be intimate. As a music venue it towers above the large Motorpoint in Cardiff - a venue where I have yet to hear a good sound. Cardiff is just a big barn (as we used to call them), designed for capacity and not quality. Newport Centre is a top venue.

So why has it fallen off? Is it just the promoters choosing to go to bigger venues for more bums on seats? Or is the Newport Centre failing to keep itself promoted?

Fair enough if a snooker tournament gets too big. Nobody could argue about that. But it would be good to understand just why Newport Centre does not hold/attract many events anymore. It can't make sense to have that big hall used only for badminton, 5-a-side etc.
So that's it for the Newport Centre, which when it first opened was instantly one of the UK's premier venues, attracting the likes of Elton John and David Bowie. A quick look at the online what's on listings amounts to just two events for the rest of 2014 - Dragondaze Games Convention and Robert Plant. I remember being there almost every other week to watch bands. The Newport Centre remains my favourite venue. The sound is almost always excellent, and it's easy to get a view. It's big enough to be special, but small enough to be intimate. As a music venue it towers above the large Motorpoint in Cardiff - a venue where I have yet to hear a good sound. Cardiff is just a big barn (as we used to call them), designed for capacity and not quality. Newport Centre is a top venue. So why has it fallen off? Is it just the promoters choosing to go to bigger venues for more bums on seats? Or is the Newport Centre failing to keep itself promoted? Fair enough if a snooker tournament gets too big. Nobody could argue about that. But it would be good to understand just why Newport Centre does not hold/attract many events anymore. It can't make sense to have that big hall used only for badminton, 5-a-side etc. DavidMclean
  • Score: 27

4:04pm Fri 8 Aug 14

The Destroyer says...

Agreed - a very good venue - have seen numerous great gigs there - from The Black Crowes through to REM.
Not sure that it has ever been promoted properly - certainly since the late 90's.
I agree with the sentiment about the Motorpoint. However what The Motorpoint does have in it's favour is it is only two or three minutes walk from The Hayes and all its pubs, bars & restaurants etc.
Agreed - a very good venue - have seen numerous great gigs there - from The Black Crowes through to REM. Not sure that it has ever been promoted properly - certainly since the late 90's. I agree with the sentiment about the Motorpoint. However what The Motorpoint does have in it's favour is it is only two or three minutes walk from The Hayes and all its pubs, bars & restaurants etc. The Destroyer
  • Score: -2

5:32pm Fri 8 Aug 14

Sing up for the amber boys says...

DavidMclean wrote:
So that's it for the Newport Centre, which when it first opened was instantly one of the UK's premier venues, attracting the likes of Elton John and David Bowie.

A quick look at the online what's on listings amounts to just two events for the rest of 2014 - Dragondaze Games Convention and Robert Plant.

I remember being there almost every other week to watch bands. The Newport Centre remains my favourite venue. The sound is almost always excellent, and it's easy to get a view. It's big enough to be special, but small enough to be intimate. As a music venue it towers above the large Motorpoint in Cardiff - a venue where I have yet to hear a good sound. Cardiff is just a big barn (as we used to call them), designed for capacity and not quality. Newport Centre is a top venue.

So why has it fallen off? Is it just the promoters choosing to go to bigger venues for more bums on seats? Or is the Newport Centre failing to keep itself promoted?

Fair enough if a snooker tournament gets too big. Nobody could argue about that. But it would be good to understand just why Newport Centre does not hold/attract many events anymore. It can't make sense to have that big hall used only for badminton, 5-a-side etc.
Agree totally with this post. Saw Elbow at the Newport Centre around 2008 - a superb gig which had great sound and the atmosphere between the band and the crowd was intimate. Saw them at the Motorpoint Arena around 2011 and it was the complete opposite - poor sound and poor atmosphere. I vowed at that point that I would never go back to the Motorpoint and I haven't been back since. Has the Newport Centre got lazy ? I've see top acts there in the past such as Adamski, EMF, Feeder and Artic Monkeys - it all seems to have dried up. No doubt some bands would like to play smaller size venues as opposed o the soulless travesty that is the Motorpoinless arena. Come on Newport Centre - up our game please and put us back on the gig map
[quote][p][bold]DavidMclean[/bold] wrote: So that's it for the Newport Centre, which when it first opened was instantly one of the UK's premier venues, attracting the likes of Elton John and David Bowie. A quick look at the online what's on listings amounts to just two events for the rest of 2014 - Dragondaze Games Convention and Robert Plant. I remember being there almost every other week to watch bands. The Newport Centre remains my favourite venue. The sound is almost always excellent, and it's easy to get a view. It's big enough to be special, but small enough to be intimate. As a music venue it towers above the large Motorpoint in Cardiff - a venue where I have yet to hear a good sound. Cardiff is just a big barn (as we used to call them), designed for capacity and not quality. Newport Centre is a top venue. So why has it fallen off? Is it just the promoters choosing to go to bigger venues for more bums on seats? Or is the Newport Centre failing to keep itself promoted? Fair enough if a snooker tournament gets too big. Nobody could argue about that. But it would be good to understand just why Newport Centre does not hold/attract many events anymore. It can't make sense to have that big hall used only for badminton, 5-a-side etc.[/p][/quote]Agree totally with this post. Saw Elbow at the Newport Centre around 2008 - a superb gig which had great sound and the atmosphere between the band and the crowd was intimate. Saw them at the Motorpoint Arena around 2011 and it was the complete opposite - poor sound and poor atmosphere. I vowed at that point that I would never go back to the Motorpoint and I haven't been back since. Has the Newport Centre got lazy ? I've see top acts there in the past such as Adamski, EMF, Feeder and Artic Monkeys - it all seems to have dried up. No doubt some bands would like to play smaller size venues as opposed o the soulless travesty that is the Motorpoinless arena. Come on Newport Centre - up our game please and put us back on the gig map Sing up for the amber boys
  • Score: 2

8:07pm Fri 8 Aug 14

Independentvoter says...

So we can hold a world NATO summit but not a snooker match - get a life !
So we can hold a world NATO summit but not a snooker match - get a life ! Independentvoter
  • Score: 2

8:46pm Fri 8 Aug 14

scraptheWAG says...

the centre was good 30 years ago but its very dated now the swimming pool is also very old, and with the wags policy of not spending a penny on newport things will not change
the centre was good 30 years ago but its very dated now the swimming pool is also very old, and with the wags policy of not spending a penny on newport things will not change scraptheWAG
  • Score: 2

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