Stories surfaced on Tuesday night this week that the BBC are set to slash a further £30-35million from their sports rights budget.

None of us can be anything other than fully aware of the extreme climate in which the broadcaster is operating currently.

The BBC will cling on for dear life for the right to show sporting events such as Wimbledon, the Premier League via Match of the Day, and tournaments like Euro2016 and 2020. Those deals have been done.

But expensive Formula One rights were shared in 2011, up to 2018, and similarly costly Open Golf coverage was ceded a year early to Sky, who had been due to take over in 2017.

Control of the Olympics rights have also been lost to the powerful Discovery from 2022 onwards.

So what about snooker’s ‘Big Three’, the Masters, the UK Championship and most of all the World Championship when that deal expires in 2017?

Reports indicated that snooker, darts and F1 were vulnerable but there was a lack of any specific detail in the stories.

It was almost as if someone was sitting in an office making a best guess about the sports in the firing line. There was no response included from either World Snooker, or BBC Sport, on the specific issue of the sport they identified as being one of those most at risk.

No sport, and certainly not (in the big picture) a minority one such as snooker, can be naïve and complacent about their situation when iconic events like the Open Championship have gone.

But assuming the BBC are not going to renounce and turn their back on sport altogether, snooker does have some clear benefits even to the bean-counters.

Firstly, relative to other sports, it is cheap to cover those three tournaments, all currently in England. The rights are cheap, and the production costs are cheap.

There is a good relationship with production company IMG, who give or take some discussion over the mix of commentators, cover the tournaments extremely well.

It fills a lot of hours, and the viewing figures stack up pretty well – so there are some genuine reasons why even hard-headed cost-cutters might spare snooker.

Hearn immediately insisted on Twitter that the relationship with the BBC remains strong, and it is to be hoped - and I have to say, expected - that continues for the foreseeable future.

Speaking on Wednesday morning, he said: "That isn't much of a story because the cuts being discussed have basically already been made.

"Snooker has a long-term deal and relationship with the BBC and I am very confident and optimistic that deal will be extended.

"It ticks a lot of boxes for the BBC even in the difficult times they are going through, and the harsh decisions they are having to make. On an hourly rate basis, it is inexpensive for them.

"In a disaster scenario could we replace the BBC? Yes. Could we get more money than they are paying? Probably. Do we want to? No."

There is also a strand of thought that even if the axe were to fall, it would not be quite the disaster it certainly would have been had this happened pre-Hearn.

The marketplace has developed and is more competitive. Eurosport now have the might of Discovery behind them. Sky are not totally out of the picture. ITV are back in the fold. BT Sport are another potentially interested party. But the BBC have the track record of delivery for those major events.

A BBC spokesperson said on Wednesday morning: "All of the reports seen are merely people speculating. We have had virtually every sport we cover contact us as a result, and absolutely no firm decisions have been made.

"And out of that £35million some considerable savings have already been made, notably through not doing the Open any more next summer, and the new Six Nations deal with shared rights with ITV."