The Group Stage draw for this week’s 188BET Champion of Champions has been made, with World Champion Stuart Bingham opening proceedings against China’s World Cup winner Zhou Yuelong.
The tournament breaks off on Tuesday, November 10 at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena and Bingham’s match will be followed by No. 6 seed Judd Trump against Kyren Wilson.
Broadcast live on ITV4 throughout, the competition sees 16 of the world’s best players, all tournament winners over the previous 12 months, competing to be crowned the 188BET Champion of Champions.
The players are split into four groups of four, with one group played on each day from Tuesday, November 10 until Friday, November 13.
There are eight seeded players in total and each seeded player will play an unseeded opponent in a best-of-seven group match in the afternoon session with the two winners clashing over 11 frames in the evening. The four group winners will proceed to the best-of-11 semi-finals on Saturday, November 14 before Sunday, November 15 sees a two-session final played over 19 frames.
Wednesday, November 11 sees action from Group 1 with John Higgins taking on Ali Carter before Joe Perry faces Michael White. Higgins has assumed the No.1 seeding having replaced Ronnie O’Sullivan as the highest ranked player already qualified.
On Thursday Neil Robertson will be up against Ruhr Open champion Rory McLeod with that match followed by Shaun Murphy against Zhou’s fellow World Cup winner Yan Bingtao.
The final group action comes from Group 2 on Friday, November 13 when World No.1 Mark Selby takes on Stephen Maguire and Barry Hawkins will play the winner of this weekend’s Bulgarian Open. Should the winner of the Bulgarian Open already be qualified, Ding Junhui, winner of last month’s Asian Tour event, will play Hawkins.
Tuesday November 10, Group 3 (first match at 1pm)
Stuart Bingham (3) v Zhou Yuelong
Judd Trump (6) v Kyren Wilson
Chris’s Prediction – A Bingham/Trump group final, with Trump to go through.
Wednesday, November 11, Group 1 (first match at 1pm)
John Higgins (1) v Ali Carter
Joe Perry (8) v Michael White
Chris’s Prediction – A Higgins/White group final, with White to go through.
Thursday, November 12, Group 4 (first match at 1pm)
Neil Robertson (4) v Rory McLeod
Shaun Murphy (5) v Yan Bingtao
Chris’s Prediction – A Robertson/Murphy group final, with Robertson to go through.
Friday, November 13, Group 2 (first match at 1pm)
Mark Selby (2) v Stephen Maguire
Barry Hawkins (7) v Mark Allen
Chris’s Prediction – A Maguire/Allen group final, with Allen to go through.
The broadcast schedule is 12:45-17:15 and 18:45-23:15 every day from Tuesday to Sunday.
The event is presented by Jill Douglas, joined in the studio by Alan McManus and Neal Foulds, with commentary from Clive Everton.
Chris’s Verdict on the Champion of Champions:
This really is an enjoyable tournament in the Snooker calendar – and ITV4’s coverage is brilliant. You have Clive Everton and Neal Foulds as part of the commentary team… for me, I think the coverage is ahead of what we see on the BBC now. Yes, there’s commercials, after all it’s on ITV4, but they’re not intrusive, a frame ends and there’s a short, simplistic break before the action continues. Ronnie O’ Sullivan won the title last year, of course he will be missed – Ronnie just adds something to every tournament he takes part in. But, tune in to this, it’s a good format, with each group decided in one day, with semis on Saturday and the final over two sessions on Sunday.
ITV4 also screens the World Grand Prix during the Snooker calendar and from early next year, they’ll screen the Snooker Shoot Out, which used to be broadcast on Sky Sports. I love this tournament, I’ve been to Blackpool myself to watch it. Great that more people will be able to tune in on Freeview.
188BET and Matchroom Sport are excited to announce that 188BET is the title sponsor of the 2015 Champion of Champions snooker tournament.
Taking place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry from Tuesday to Sunday 10-15 November, the 188BET Champion of Champions will be broadcast live throughout on ITV4 in the UK.
The 188BET Champion of Champions features World Snooker tournament winners from the previous 12 months, including World Champion Stuart Bingham, Masters Champion Shaun Murphy as well as the likes of Grand Prix champion Judd Trump, German Masters victor Mark Selby and Welsh Open winner John Higgins.
The tournament begins with four groups, each featuring a semi-final and final on the same day with the group winners progressing to the tournament semi-finals on Saturday 14 November. Sunday’s final will be played over 19 frames with the winner taking home £100,000.
In addition to live coverage throughout in the UK, the 188BET Champion of Champions will also be aired on CCTV in China, Sky New Zealand, OSN throughout the Middle East, Nova in Czech and Slovakia and Setanta (Ireland).
Barry Hearn, Chairman of Matchroom Sport, said: “We are delighted to be working with 188BET for the first time on what is one of the biggest events on the snooker calendar. The 188BET Champion of Champions is a blue riband event and the millions of fans watching both in person at the Ricoh Arena across the world on live TV will be in for a treat of world class snooker from the first ball till the last.”
188BET’s Managing Director, Nigel Singer said: “I’m very pleased to announce 188BET’s partnership with Matchroom Sport. The Champion of Champions snooker tournament is one of the biggest events on the snooker calendar. Through our partnership, the 188BET Champions of Champions tournament will reach millions of snooker fans with live television coverage on multiple channels.”