THE decision of broadcaster the BBC to move away from terrestrial coverage of Mark Selby’s epic first-round Dafabet Masters match against Mark Davis at 5-5 ahead of the deciding frame drew much negative comment on Twitter and elsewhere.
With the match being shown on the red button and online and therefore available to pretty much everyone it could be argued that the decision was a mild inconvenience rather than catastrophic. However there is no technical reason why the pre-recorded Ski Sunday programme that took precedence could not have been put on to the red button, and the audience – some of whom may not have been initially watching on the red button - allowed to see the match climax undisturbed.
The issue for many snooker fans is how the sport is truly viewed by the BBC, the fact that so many hours are devoted to it not being the whole story. And this is a question that goes right to the suits at the top, rather than the very able production and presenting staff at the tournaments themselves. Would the same thing have happened had it been golf or tennis? It seems very unlikely. And a BDO darts match, not the best standard that sport has to offer, was allowed to finish the previous week without the switch.
There is an impression that at times certain senior managers at the BBC are almost embarrassed by snooker, and the fact that it commands such big audiences compared to other supposedly ‘superior’ sports is an inconvenience. If the BBC want to show that it truly supports snooker, rather than show lots of it because the rights are relatively cheap and they have lost other sports broadcasting rights, then it needs to demonstrate it clearly at times like this.