Phil Haigh ✍️
Jack Lisowski believes calls to modernise snooker are important as there is a lack of young talent coming into the game in the UK and the next generation needs to be encouraged.
Lisowski’s good friend Judd Trump has long been calling for change in snooker, covering a range of issues including dress codes, commentary style, marketing and fan experience at events.
For Trump, much of what he has said is to help bring in a new, younger audience to the game, while Lisowski makes the point that snooker also needs to attract more young players who can reach professional level.
Of course there are some standout young talents in the UK, with Liam Davies, Stan Moody and Liam Pullen springing to mind, but the youngsters already making an impact on the professional circuit are nearly all from China.
Jackpot wants to see a more vibrant, appealing atmosphere at snooker events to make it attract youngsters in as both fans and players, and encourage them to pursue the sport as a career.
The two-table set-up at the Barbican in York this week for the UK Championship, Jack feels, is a step in the right direction.
Asked if he is on board with Trump’s calls for change, Lisowski told Metro.co.uk: ‘He’s always at the ends of these tournaments, he wins a lot and he will have a lot more accurate opinion on stuff that I haven’t really got a clue about because I’ve never really been there. So I think his input is a bit better than mine.
‘But I think he’s dead right in what he’s saying, things need modernising. Even this venue this week looks like a step in the right direction, but we need to keep everything up and keep growing as a sport and make it more and more popular.
‘At the moment so many of the good young players are coming from China, there’s not really many at all from the UK, so that’s something that needs to be addressed.
‘How can we appeal to the younger generation? I’m all for growing the game, for sure.’
Many tournaments on the tour do not have the glamour that the UK Championship is giving off this week, which is understandable to an extent as they are smaller events, with less history, prestige, prize money and recognition.
However, Lisowski wants to see as much done to make every event look as good as possible to a TV audience, which can be helped by growing the live audience.
‘I just think keep getting this kind of event on TV. Venues like this make it more appealing for a youngster to play,’ Lisowski said of plans for the future.
‘If they watch a snooker player here, they’ll think, that looks fun, look at all those people watching!
‘They’re more likely to start watching and playing rather than tournaments where it’s the opposite.’
Lisowski is a keen advocate of growth in the sport, but maybe not quite as confident as Trump in putting across his ideas, added: ‘But I don’t really know a lot about it, I’m just trying to pot balls, man. I don’t know about that stuff.’
There has been significant change to the UK Championship this year, with only 32 players going to the Barbican and the two-table set-up allowing for a more glitzy atmosphere to play in.
There has also been impressive improvement in terms of activities for fans at the venue, with players offering coaching, Q&As at the Cue Zone before and in between matches.
Trump and Lisowski have been involved, delighting fans in York, especially one punter who got to play a shot with Judd’s cue.
‘Everything to me looks pretty positive, especially the arena, it looks a lot more professional out there, with the LED screens,’ said Trump told Eurosport of the revamp in York.
‘It all helps with the fan experience and especially for the people who come here for the whole day, you don’t want to stand around in silence in a corridor somewhere.
‘You want somewhere where you can go and get a bit of coaching, watch players giving demonstrations, different food options, you want a bit of a buzz in between sessions.
‘They’ve made a start, I’d like to see a bit more, maybe music of DJs outside the arena to get people on a better vibe, but everything I’ve seen looks positive.’
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