Snooker bosses have hailed Sheffield after enjoying a record-breaking World Championship tournament in the city.
Ronnie ‘The Rocket’ O’Sullivan lifted the trophy at the Crucible theatre on Monday after an 18-12 victory over Barry Hawkins – the fifth time the 37-year-old from Essex has been crowned world champion.
Afterwards, Ronnie said: “I like Sheffield. I love the tournament and being at the Crucible.”
And tournament organiser World Snooker said this year’s championship was a record-breaker, with the most tickets ever sold, raising a record amount of revenue.
More than 38,000 tickets were sold for the 17 days of competition at the 980-capacity theatre, raising more than £1 million.
Ivan Hirchowitz, for World Snooker, said: “It has been another outstanding World Championship and we are delighted with the support from the people of Sheffield.
“The fans really got behind the event from first day until last and the atmosphere inside the arena was magical.
“We were also thrilled to see hundreds of people in Tudor Square during the final, soaking up the sun and watching the match on the big screen.”
The tournament has been held at the Crucible in the city centre since 1977 – and is guaranteed to remain at the venue for at least the next two years.
Mr Hirchowitz said: “We have received tremendous support from Sheffield Council and we look forward to the future of the World Championship at the Crucible.”
The council has also praised the tournament for its impact on Sheffield.
Coun Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for sport, said: “Sheffield has just seen another world-class tournament take place and it’s always great to feel the buzz the World Snooker Championship and its visitors bring to the city.
“This year the event has attracted more than 10,000 people and is worth more than £2 million in economic terms to the city, while receiving extensive television coverage.”
Dan Bates, Sheffield Theatres chief executive, said: ‘World Snooker is a really important event for us to host.
“The money is useful, but it is more about the profile of the theatre and the city.”
Tickets will go on sale for next year’s tournament this July.
TOURNAMENT FINDS SETTLED HOME IN LISTED THEATRE
The Grade II-listed Crucible theatre opened in Sheffield in 1971.
The World Snooker Championship was first held at the venue in 1977 – when it was won by John Spencer, who beat Cliff Thorburn 25-21 – and it has been held at the Crucible ever since.
It had previously been held across the country, including in London, Birmingham and Manchester .
The Crucible underwent a £15 million refurbishment between 2007 and 2009, opening only for the snooker championships during that period.
In 2009, it was confirmed the tournament would stay at the Crucible for another five years, until 2014.
In 2010, it was announced this agreement had been extended to 2015.