How the World Championship final showed the power of social media for Snooker

The first bank holiday Monday of May is a special date in the calendar for fans of sport in the UK and Ireland.

The World Snooker Championship takes place at the Crucible in Sheffield at the end of April and start of May, culminating on the Monday evening with the business end of the final.

This year’s edition didn’t disappoint either, as two legends of the sport, John Higgins and Mark Williams battled it out in one of the best finals you’re likely to see in any sport: two players playing at an almost laughably high level with composure, sensational shots and even the thrill of a stunning comeback were all in evidence, and in the end the mutual respect was evident, too.

It was everything we love about sport – winner Mark Williams even followed through on his promise to conduct the post-match press conference naked if he won the tournament.

On social media, it was worth a follow, too.

Between the official World Snooker account and the two UK broadcasters – Eurosport and BBC Sport – there were plenty of ways to keep up to date with the action and the drama beyond the live TV screen.

Near-live highlights have been a feature of the coverage of numerous sports in recent months. From Formula One and the PGA Tour using short video clips to keep their fans up to date with the action, to football leagues doing deals with broadcasters like Sky Sports and BT Sport to put some goals on Twitter as they go in, social media video is becoming a little bit like free samples; advertising of the main event which is happening as we speak.

In the case of the snooker, both World Snooker, the BBC and Eurosport seemed to work in tandem, sharing each other’s coverage and all to the benefit of the viewer.

Snooker’s governing body used their Twitter account to supplement the live action with the best highlights whilst Eurosport posted clips of the most important parts of each frame. The BBC’s TV and online coverage – with its huge reach – saw the main coverage, with Hazel Irvine leading the interviews with the players after the match had ended and before the trophy was presented.

On the night – and throughout the tournament – snooker showed that it is a sport which is certainly conducive to the digital and social media age.

Whilst it is a sport, along with the likes of golf, which can often be seen as a bit old fashioned or too slow-paced for Twitter, the fact that every shot is a potentially self-contained highlight makes it perfect for being chopped up and presented on social media. The drama of such a tight final also plays into the hands of that strategy and by complementing each other’s social media coverage, the broadcasters and governing body were able to bring out the best of the action to potentially captivate new fans on social.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 688 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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