ESPN STAR Sports Launches Asia's First Professional 9-Ball Tour for Men

MUMBAI: ESPN STAR Sports (ESS) has announced the launch of the inaugural San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour 2003 beginning in Singapore on 15-16 March that will travel to Ho Chi Minh (12-13 April), Hong Kong (3-4 May), Taipei (24-25 May) and Manila (21-22 June) to determine who are Asia's best pool players.

Organized by ESS' Event Management Group, the Tour will feature Asia's top players and will have US$50,000 prize money per leg. The top ten finishers on the Tour will get entry into the World Professional Pool Championships which takes place this year in Cardiff, UK in July. The San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour is the only pool competition in Asia which allows players to garner points to qualify for the World Pool Championships, which is anticipated by many to make Asia its venue in 2004. The Tour will also form the basis for the annual ranking of the top players in Asia.


On the broadcasting front, the five stops of the Tour will be televised on Star Sports, culminating with the exclusive pan-Asian television broadcast of the World Professional Pool Championships also on the same channel. Star Sports viewers can catch seven hours of world-class pool coverage from each leg.


An estimated 36.6 million cable viewers were able to view last year's World Professional Pool Championships (WPPC) on Star Sports, says an official release. In markets of India, Taiwan and Singapore, the event attracted 18.2 million cable viewers. In Singapore alone, viewership of WPPC increased 41 per cent in 2002, as compared to the year before, says the release quoting TAM data.

Before the San Miguel 9-Ball Tour, ESS was the host broadcaster of the inaugural Asian 8-Ball Championships in Singapore last September 2002 which attracted 167 entries from nine Asian countries. 

The ESS Event Management Group specialises in creating, managing, promoting, consulting, producing and syndicating world class sporting events throughout Asia.

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