The World Snooker Tour (WST) has announced a “fourth major” in Saudi Arabia with a prize pot of more than £2 million.
The inaugural Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters will take place in Riyadh from August 31 to September 7.
It will be a world ranking event open to all 128 WST players, as well as six local wildcards from the Saudi Arabian Billiard & Snooker Federation.
WST has branded it the “fourth major”, alongside the traditional Triple Crown of the World Championship, UK Championship and Masters.
Indeed, the Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters will be behind only the World Championship in terms of prize money.
The event has been announced as part of the 10-year deal between the World Snooker Tour, World Nineball Tour, Saudi Arabian Billiard & Snooker Federation and the Ministry of Sport for Saudi Arabia, which will also see the 2024 World Pool Championship take place in Jeddah from June 3 to 8.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has forged a reputation for growth and creating new opportunities for sports to grow in a new market to new fans,” said Eddie Hearn, chairman of WST owners Matchroom Sport.
“The country has hosted some of the world’s premier sporting events in recent years, welcoming visitors from all over to experience its passion for sport and unique culture.
“The addition of both the Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters and World Pool Championship over the next decade further enhances that as it heralds an exciting chapter for snooker and nineball pool.”
Dr. Nasser Saab Al-Shammari, Saudi Arabia Billiard & Snooker Federation President, added: “The introduction of two brand new global events in Saudi Arabia with long-term deals in place is an absolute game changing moment for our sports.
“We have a flourishing community but until now opportunities had limited exposure to the game’s elite. This will undoubtedly accelerate our progress and development.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump and Luca Brecel are among those set to contest the 10-player field.