Five-times world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has compared snooker to a “car boot sale” when put alongside other sports, which he said felt more like shopping at luxury department stores.
The Englishman cruised into the UK Championship fourth round with a 6-1 win over Michael Georgiou in York on Monday before giving a frank opinion of the image snooker possesses.
“Snooker has become a nothing-type sport, but it’s still great,” O’Sullivan told British media.
“They’re just putting so much of it out there, it’s just cheap TV and a filler for other programmes — snooker has lost respect amongst other sports,” the five-times UK Championship winner added.
“You watch Formula One and you see beautiful-looking people. You look at snooker and you think, ‘God’.
“It costs 5 pounds ($6.20) to get in at some of the qualifying events and see a top-class player — it’s like a car boot sale whereas their sports are like shopping at Harrods.”
O’Sullivan also felt that snooker needed to embrace a more corporate image not only to regain its status as a “core” sport but also increase the finances involved in the game.
“It’s all about media, money and business, and snooker is nothing compared to Formula One, tennis and the Olympics. They’ve got corporate people involved who have a massive say in who is big and who is not big,” the 40-year-old said.
“Snooker is unable to attract those kind of sponsors or compete in that league.
“If it went to China and found some billionaires that want to take this sport on and put up 1 million-pound first prizes, then you could maybe start looking at snooker as a core sport again.”