Snooker is a “car boot sale” while other sports are like shopping at luxury department stores, says five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
The 40-year-old believes snooker needs to embrace a more corporate image, similar to sports such as golf, tennis and Formula 1.
O’Sullivan cruised into the UK Championship fourth round with a 6-1 win over Michael Georgiou on Monday.
“Snooker has become a nothing-type sport, but it’s still great,” he said.
“They’re just putting so much of it out there, it’s just cheap TV and a filler for other programmes – snooker has lost respect amongst other sports.
“You watch Formula 1 and you see beautiful-looking people. You look at snooker and you think, ‘God.’
“It costs £5 to get in at some of the qualifying events and see a top-class player – it’s like a car boot sale whereas their sports are like shopping at Harrods.”
‘Snooker is nothing compared to F1 and tennis’
The total prize money available on the tour this season has reached £10m for the first time as part of World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn’s revamp of the sport.
That includes the addition of new ranking tournaments, as well as increased prize money at existing events.
This year’s UK Championship winner will take home £170,000, while the next world champion will win £375,000.
O’Sullivan said: “It’s all about media, money and business, and snooker is nothing compared to Formula 1, tennis and the Olympics. They’ve got corporate people involved who have a massive say in who is big and who is not big.
“Snooker is unable to attract those kind of sponsors or compete in that league.
“If it went to China and found some billionaires that want to take this sport on and put up £1m first prizes, then you could maybe start looking at snooker as a core sport again.”
O’Sullivan on snooker’s Sports Personality absence
O’Sullivan was also asked about the continued absence of snooker players from the BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist.
Steve Davis, in 1988, is the only snooker player to win the award, while Stephen Hendry was the last to make the top three – coming second in 1990.
“They give snooker like 10 seconds on BBC Sport Personality of the Year, it’s a complete insult to the sport,” said O’Sullivan.
“But it’s what they think of it, it’s how much they believe they should warrant to it. So that says it all really.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/snooker/38137971