Phil Haigh ✍️
Judd Trump is continuing his quest for snooker to attract a younger and wider audience, saying many tournaments on the calendar are run by people in their ‘late 50s or 60s’ who ‘don’t know how to appeal to the younger generation.’
The world number three has regularly spoken out about dress codes, commentary and general promotion of the sport, wanting it to bring in younger fans and a new batch of upcoming players.
The 33-year-old says his game has even been impacted by a growing focus on how the sport can grow.
‘It’s been up and down [this season], I feel like in snooker terms, maybe it’s affecting me more with what’s going on. I don’t feel like the tour has really improved over the last two years,’ Trump told ITV.
‘Maybe I’m getting a bit too involved and maybe I get a bit too down with where the game’s heading. Maybe I just need to concentrate a bit more on the tournament that’s upcoming.’
Trump is playing at the Champion of Champions this week, an event promoted by Matchroom, whose events he feels are a bit more vibrant than those run by World Snooker Tour.
‘I feel that snooker can be a lot bigger than it is and things aren’t progressing the way I think that they should,’ he said. ‘Certain tournaments I turn up and get excited by and the Champion of Champions is always one of them.
‘I just feel that there’s no one around my age involved at the top of the game or behind the scenes that has seen what I’ve seen and know how to progress and appeal to the younger generation.
‘I feel that a lot of the people at the top of the game are all the same age, late 50s, 60s, and don’t know how to appeal to the younger generation.
‘Champion of Champions and the Matchroom events are run by a younger crowd and appeal to be a bit more. That’s why I feel more at home in their events.’
After beating Luca Brecel in his opening game at the Champion of Champions, Trump explained why he feels the need to speak out on these matters, and how he has seen more impressive set-ups in other sports.
‘I felt like the first 10-15 years of my career I’ve been silent. If no one else speaks up, at my age and where I am in the rankings, I need to speak up and be honest,’ he explained.
‘I think there are things that can be done. This year I’ve been to quite a few other sports to see how things work behind the scenes.
‘It’s not on the table, that takes care of itself, but around the venue there’s more stuff to do, a bit more lively, more atmosphere, DJs that kind of thing. Just having more to do in between games.
‘A lot of people I speak to who come to see me and don’t necessarily watch snooker, they say there’s nothing going on before the game, after the game, during the game. I know it comes down to money, but they need to make the investment.’
The 2019 world champion also wants more ambition when it comes to organising events, having just played at the Hong Kong Masters, which saw over 8,000 people in the crowd for the final at the Hong Kong Coliseum.
‘There’s been times when you feel like snooker is moving to bigger and better venues, then they pull it back and it goes to smaller venues, which is disappointing,’ he said.
‘Hopefully people can learn from the Hong Kong event recently and see how big snooker can be if it’s run in the right way. Being able to play in events like that make everything worthwhile.’
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