Sports Gazette

The sports magazine brought to you by the next generation of sport writers

Barry Hearn announces world pool tour to follow Mosconi Cup

The Mosconi Cup, celebrating its 30-year anniversary, is now underway, with Europe securing an early 4-0 lead over Team USA at Alexandra Palace.

In this Ryder Cup-style nine-ball pool tournament, fans from both sides of the Atlantic are immersed in a darts-like atmosphere.

But before the action commenced at Ally Pally, Barry Hearn OBE revealed plans for the World Nineball Tour to begin in the new year.

This format will allow Matchroom to stage more events in different territories which, in boxing, Eddie Hearn has already done, by taking Anthony Joshua’s next fight to Saudi Arabia.

Rival promoter Frank Warren, though, has claimed to be at the forefront of negotiations with Turki Al-Sheikh, a highly influential organiser of elite sport in the Middle East.

“We have very extensive connections in the Middle East, in a variety of sports, and we deal with governments, not individuals,” said Barry Hearn.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. 05th Dec, 2023.
Press Conference during Mosconi Cup MMXXIII at Alexandra Palace on Tuesday, December 05, 2023 in LONDON ENGLAND.
Credit: Taka G Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport

Despite excitement from players and fans for the World Nineball Tour, the president of the World Pool-Billiard Association (WBA) has stated that, from March 2024, anyone who plays in Matchroom events, which aren’t sanctioned by the WPA, will be banned from competing in the governing body’s tournaments.

Barry Hearn said: “That is the most backwards step I have ever heard from anyone.

“We had the same situation in darts where a small-minded amateur body tried to restrict everyone, and then they went bust because we blew them apart and changed people’s lives.

“The exact same methodology will be used on pool.”

Like snooker, nine-ball pool has a strong presence in South East Asia.

The Mosconi Cup arrives after a successful Hanoi open, where the popular Jayson Shaw won his first nine-ball major.

Matchroom Multi Sport Director Emily Frazer said: “[Hanoi open] was a game changer for the sport because, all of a sudden, we had 3,000 fans queuing up for our biggest seated event in nine-ball pool.

“They used to drag people off the street and give them free tickets; now we’re selling arenas out.

“We want to make the players superstars. Francisco Sanchez Ruiz should be earning the same amount as Michael van Gerwen.”

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. 05th Dec, 2023.
Press Conference during Mosconi Cup MMXXIII at Alexandra Palace on Tuesday, December 05, 2023 in LONDON ENGLAND.
Credit: Taka G Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport

While the sport continues to develop, as it looks to become more professionalised, there are certain elements of the Mosconi Cup that could never be replaced.

Day one at Ally Pally offered a reminder of how the atmosphere in an arena can significantly elevate a team.

Before even lifting a cue, players immediately felt the energy from the crowd, as visiting supporters sporting their best Uncle Sam attire made their voices heard, but were met by a bellowing swarm of Europeans.

The tone was set when world number-one Sanchez Ruiz was welcomed into the arena with a huge reception from a lively section of Spaniards.

Galvanised by the home crowd, Europe won a nip-and-tuck teams event that saw Austrian star Albin Ouschan, known as the iceman, defeat Fedor Gorst with a golden break to pot the nine ball in his first rack.

With momentum firmly in their favour, Europe claimed the doubles, as a partnership of Shaw and Ouschan proved too sturdy for Team USA.

Then, in the first singles match, Joshua Filler, who had tears in his eyes at the 2017 Mosconi Cup, potted his way to victory against Skyler Woodward.

And finally, to secure a clean sweep, Team Europe won their second doubles event of the evening, with Sanchez and David Alcaide pairing up to round off a dominant performance.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. 05th Dec, 2023.
Press Conference during Mosconi Cup MMXXIII at Alexandra Palace on Tuesday, December 05, 2023 in LONDON ENGLAND.
Credit: Taka G Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport

But the Mosconi Cup is far from over, as with three days still left to be played, there are plenty of matchups for both sets of fans to look forward to.

Emily Frazer said: “Friday and Saturday are completely sold out, so day one was a chance to test the water and see what the crowd is like.”

“The hairs on the back of my neck stand up as soon as I walk into the arena; I’m so excited that I can’t sleep at night.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author

  • Oscar Pick

    I cover stories in boxing, football, rugby, snooker and MMA. Wishing to ensure greater transparency, through accurate reporting and engaging interviews, my articles allow readers to gain an informed insight into different aspects of sport.