The Shanghai Masters gets underway this week with 24 players competing in the newly revamped tournament in China.
For the first time since its launch in 2007 it is being played as an invitational rather than a ranking event with a huge £725,000 prize fund.
The 24 players competing, feature the top 16 in the world rankings list, the next four highest ranked Chinese competitors, and an additional quartet of wildcards from the home nation.
Round one of the new event will see players ranked 9-16 take on the eight Chinese amateurs and professionals with the winners taking on the top 8 professional players in Round two.
All eyes will be on Ronnie O’Sullivan as he makes his maiden bow of the 2018/19 campaign.
O’Sullivan won the title in 2017, beating Judd Trump 10-3 in the final.
Already the richest invitation event in snooker history, a new five-year agreement between World Snooker, promoter Juss Sports and the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association will see prize money increase to £750,000 in 2019, £775,000 in 2020, £800,000 in 2021 and £825,000 in 2022.
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are delighted to come to this agreement to secure the long-term future of the Shanghai Masters. With four major ranking events being held in China each year, the market is ready for a new concept event which rewards the top players. Creating a unique 24-man invitation event will give the tournament an exclusive identity. A true “Shanghai Masters”.
“I am looking forward to the ‘Race to Shanghai’ when it reaches its home straight next year. Who will be in the top 16 to qualify? Will we find a new superstar from the Amateur Masters series? I can’t wait to see the young Chinese professionals battling with each other for one of the four extra invitations.
“Snooker continues to grow at a rapid rate in China and our portfolio of major events provides great opportunity for the players, fantastic viewing for the fans and keeps our sport’s momentum going at grassroots level.”
Express Sport will be on hand to bring you all the live scores throughout the tournament and here’s how you can watch the action.
Shanghai Masters snooker LIVE stream and TV channel
Eurosport 1 & Eurosport 2 will be sharing coverage throughout the tournament.
That means you can watch online if you have Sky Sports.
All the action can be followed on your desktop or laptop via the Sky Go app, which if you’re an existing customer, is also available on iOS and Android smartphone and tablet devices.
Sky Go is also available on a number of platforms including Amazon Fire devices, iPad, Mac computers and laptops, Playstation 3, PS4 and Xbox One.
The Sky Sports app, available to download on iOS and Android devices, will also be providing live text coverage and updates.
If you’re not currently a Sky Sports customer but can’t stand to miss out on the action, you can add the channels to your box via a NOW TV subscription.
Day passes, which let you add Sky Sports channels for 24 hours, start at £7.99 a day, with a weekly pass starting from £10.99, and no locking in to a contract.
NOW TV doesn’t even require a typical television to use, as it is also available on a NOW TV Box, Chromecast, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Roku, LG Smart TV, PC or Mac, and selected mobile and tablet devices.
Some betting sites are also showing the action although you will be required to make a minimum deposit to open an account in order to watch.