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Sheffield Arena has been touted as a possible replacement for the Crucible Theatre as Sheffield bids to keep the World Snooker Championship in the city beyond 2027.

According to a report in local newspaper The Star, the 12,500-all seater venue could meet the requirements of the sport’s organisers when the contract with the 980-seat Crucible expires in 2027, after the tournament’s 50th anniversary at the venue which began in 1977.

Sheffield Arena hosts local ice hockey team the Sheffield Steelers, but has staged boxing, basketball, gymnastics, professional wrestling and Premier League darts, as well as huge pop concerts – including performances by Take That and One Direction – since it opened in 1991.

“We have a huge and dedicated fan base, not only across the UK but also Europe, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Middle East,” said Simon Brownell, CEO of World Snooker Tour.

“As a sport we have grown fantastically in recent years, for example the Masters in London has become a complete sell out from start to finish with an incredible atmosphere.

O’Sullivan and Fu get huge reception from record-breaking crowd at Hong Kong Masters

“We have also seen that in Germany at the Tempodrom and in China we recently staged an event in Yushan with over 2,000 in the audience. In 2022 in Hong Kong we had just shy of 10,000 in the audience.

“So we want to make sure that where we are growing all of our events worldwide, the World Championship keeps pace with that.”

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Hearn on Crucible future – ‘You can’t eat history’

The options on the table include remaining at the Crucible, building a bigger venue to host the venue in Sheffield, or moving the event to a larger venue overseas, but former World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn insists the preference is to remain in Sheffield, the sport’s “spiritual home” amid ongoing talks with Sheffield City Council.

“The priority is to stay in the Steel City of Sheffield because it’s been our home for a long, long time,” said Hearn on the BBC.

“Great moments. But we have a duty to everybody to listen. We listen to the fans, listen to the local people, we also listen to the players.

“The effect on prize money. We look at the conditions, and say the game has moved on, and deserves better than the current conditions.”

Stream top snooker action, including the World Snooker Championship, live on discovery+, the Eurosport app and at eurosport.com

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